Sunday, Aug 3, 2008
FCC holds nation’s second largest broadband provider broke network neutrality principles when it throttled P2P traffic from BitTorrent. FCC rejects Comcast contention that network throttling is part of routine network management by broadband service providers.
In the first major test of the FCC’s (Federal Communications Commission) network neutrality principles, the agency found Comcast guilty Aug. 1 of secretly degrading network traffic. On a 3-2 vote, the FCC ordered Comcast to stop blocking traffic, disclose to the FCC the full extent of the cable giant’s traffic practices and to keep the public informed of its future network management plans.
The FCC said Comcast violated the agency’s Internet policy when it blocked P2P traffic by BitTorrent. The agency also found that Comcast misled consumers when it did not properly disclose its P2P policy.
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Voting for the sanctions were Republican Chairman Kevin Martin and Democratic Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein. Republicans Robert McDowell and Deborah Taylor Tate opposed the measure.
“Comcast was delaying subscribers’ downloads and blocking their uploads,” Martin said. “It was doing so 24/7, regardless of the amount of congestion on the network or how small the file might be.”
Martin insisted the FCC’s actions are not about regulating the Internet.
“Indeed, I have consistently opposed calls for legislation or rules to impose network neutrality,” Martin said. “Like many other policy makers and members of Congress, I have said such legislation or rules are unnecessary, because the Commission already has the tools it needs to punish a bad actor.”