FCC Orders Comcast to End Discriminatory Network Management Practices

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on August 2, 2008

RE: Formal Complaint of Free Press and Public Knowledge Against Comcast Corporation for Secretly Degrading Peer-to-Peer Applications; Broadband Industry Practices, Petition of Free Press et al. for Declaratory Ruling that Degrading an Internet Application Violates the FCC’s Internet Policy Statement and Does Not Meet an Exception for “Reasonable Network Management,” File No. EB-08-IH-1518, WC Docket No. 07-52, Memorandum Opinion and Order.

News release: “Comcast Corp.’s management of its broadband Internet networks contravenes federal policies that protect the vibrant and open nature of the Internet, the Federal Communications Commission found [August 1, 2008]. Ruling on a complaint by Free Press and Public Knowledge as well as a petition for declaratory ruling, the Commission concluded that Comcast has unduly interfered with Internet users’ right to access the lawful Internet content and to use the applications of their choice. Specifically, the Commission found that Comcast had deployed equipment throughout its network to monitor the content of its customers’ Internet connections and selectively block specific types of connections known as peer-to-peer connections.

…The Commission’s action today is the result of an exhaustive examination of conduct that was first brought to light by Comcast subscribers who noticed that they had problems using peer-to-peer applications, such as BitTorrent, over their Comcast broadband connections…The Commission’s extensive investigation into this matter – which included two public hearings, substantial input from experts, and thousands of comments from companies, organizations, and the public at large – confirms that Comcast’s interference is far more invasive and widespread than the company first conceded.”

Related news from the Electronic Freedom Foundation (FCC): “Hours before the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to take action against Comcast for violating the FCC’s net neutrality principles, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is releasing “Switzerland,” a software tool for customers to test the integrity of their Internet communications.”

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