FCC will vote August 1 on how exactly to slap their wrist...
Comcast worked so hard to get the FCC off their back for the company's throttling of P2P traffic, a practice first discovered in our forums
in May of 2007. Comcast first denied they were doing anything out of the ordinary. They then argued that the throttling was perfectly reasonable -- as per the definition of reasonable in the FCC's network neutrality policy statement
. They then issued a new new terms of service
that used the word "reasonable" a lot, and issued an 80 page statement to the FCC that used the word reasonable forty times
That didn't work. Comcast then began publicly stating that the FCC lacked authority to punish them, suggesting they'd sue the FCC tried. It looks like their lawyers are going to get a workout, as late yesterday FCC boss Kevin Martin stated that Comcast did violate FCC's network neutrality principles and should be punished.
We found that Comcast’s actions in this instance violated our principles.
-The FCC, shocking some by revealing they have principles
"The commission has adopted a set of principles that protects consumers access to the Internet," Martin told The Associated Press
late Thursday. "We found that Comcast’s actions in this instance violated our principles." Martin will now circulate an order recommending Comcast be punished that will be voted on by fellow commissioners August 1.
Martin says their investigation found that Comcast arbitrarily blocked Internet access, regardless of the level of congestion, then failed to disclose to consumers that they were doing so. No word yet on the severity of punishment planned. For their part, Comcast responded to the AP report by continuing to play semantic patty cake, stating that Comcast engages in "carefully limited" and "reasonable" measures to manage traffic. The company sent me this statement:
Comcast does not block any Internet content, application, or service. The Commission has never before provided any guidance on what it means by ‘reasonable network management. The carefully limited measures that Comcast takes to manage traffic on its broadband network are a reasonable part of Comcast’s strategy to ensure a high-quality, reliable Internet experience for all Comcast High-Speed Internet customers and are used by many other ISPs around the world. Comcast’s customer service agreements and policies have always informed Comcast customers that broadband capacity is not unlimited, and that the network is managed for the benefit of all customers. Our website offers detailed information on our network management practices."
Earlier this year, pressure from the FCC investigation forced Comcast to announce they'd be replacing their current network management system (24/7 throttling of upstream P2P traffic using forged TCP packets) with one that's more transparent. As I first reported in May
, that new plan may include clear 250GB caps and overage fees, increased DMCA letter enforcement, and the throttling of heavy users down to "above DSL