Cable giant and major internet supplier Comcast has been ordered to cease what have been determined to be discriminatory practices and allow internet traffic to flow between providers and users with minimal intervention. The FCC’s found that it went overboard blocking peer-to-peer file sharing services, notably BitTorrent.
Comcast has 30 days to “Disclose the details of its discriminatory network management practices to the Commission; submit a compliance plan describing how it intends to stop these discriminatory management practices by the end of the year; and disclose to customers and the Commission the network management practices that will replace current practices.”
RBR/TVBR observation: In this issue, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, supported by the two Democratic commissioners, determined to use the FCC’s authority to enforce the concept of network neutrality. In theory, supporters of that concept would like internet traffic managed the way telephone calls are. The problem comes down to bandwidth. Since the infrastructure demands of one phone call are pretty much like those of another, management is simpler than on the web, where demands made by a simple text file pale in comparison to the transmission of audio/video content. We suspect FCC v. Comcast is the Fort Sumter of the net neutrality wars. Expect more to come.