Comcast says the FCC hasn’t the right to enforce Net Neutrality

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Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Comcast has filed its appeal of an FCC decision issued last August that censured the cable company for blocking P2P files, arguing that the commission doesn’t have the authority to impose the broadband principles that define network neutrality in the U.S. absent a federal law or a full public hearing to make those principles binding as regulatory policy. Indeed, Comcast’s appeal will test the FCC’s ability to enforce network neutrality without either of those things.

Comcast’s intent to appeal the FCC’s ruling was announced last September, but initial briefs, which it filed July 27, are just now hitting the courts. Comcast initially got into trouble in October 2007, after an Associated Press investigation revealed the company was forging packets that would cause BitTorrent connections of some users to drop and failing to inform them of the practice — a serious net neutrality no-no.

After multiple hearings and the filing of more than 6,500 public comments, the FCC in August of 2008 gave Comcast a stern talking-to and ordered it to change its network management practice, but stopped short of issuing a fine. It also declined to make a formal rule regarding this sort of action, saying instead that it will continue to examine net neutrality issues on a case-by-case basis. So as per the FCC’s order, Comcast implemented a type of network management plan that temporarily slows connections for heavy bandwidth users when the network gets crowded. The management affects uploads and downloads and is protocol-agnostic.

A Comcast spokeswoman said today that regardless of the success of Comcast’s appeal, its network management procedures will stay the same.

In essence, Comcast says the FCC has no right to issue orders affecting throttling of consumers’ accounts. A direct contradiction to anything that pretends to Net Neutrality.

I guess we will get to see which side the “new” FCC will take in disputes like this. Though the wheels of government turn as slowly as ever.

7 thoughts on “Comcast says the FCC hasn’t the right to enforce Net Neutrality

  1. Jägermeister says:

    The telecom oligopoly – You get what we want you to get… not what you paid for.

    This lack of competition is the reason why the North American market still doesn’t have 100 Mbps at home, and pay a ridiculous amount of cash for shitty Internet connections.

  2. Mike says:

    Comcast is likely right, the FCC may not have the authority to regulate Comcast in this way. One may say “But it isn’t right” all one likes, and one would be correct, but still Comcast is a private company which owns the resources on which it operates. The solution to this sort of problem is a public network; this is also exactly what the private companies do not want and they try to stifle it wherever it shows up.

  3. moss says:

    Most of what is called the Internet is, in fact, publicly owned or sustained. Founded by DARPA, most of the backbone nodes are at universities – receiving some public funds.

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