Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Advocate.

Friday, July 11, 2008

FCC Chairman finds Comcast guilty as charged

We weren't expecting this one:
The head of the Federal Communications Commission said Thursday that he would recommend that Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, be punished for violating agency principles that guarantee customers open access to the Internet.

The potentially precedent-setting move stems from a complaint that Comcast had blocked Internet traffic among users of a certain type of file-sharing software that allowed them to exchange large amounts of data.

“The commission has adopted a set of principles that protects consumers access to the Internet,” the commission chairman, Kevin J. Martin, told The Associated Press late Thursday. “We found that Comcast’s actions in this instance violated our principles.”

Mr. Martin said Comcast had arbitrarily blocked Internet access, regardless of the level of traffic, and failed to disclose to consumers that it was doing so.
It's almost like a dream...justice from the Republican-dominated, Bush era Federal Communications Commission!
Mr. Martin will circulate an order recommending enforcement action against the company on Friday among his fellow commissioners, who will vote on the measure at an open meeting on Aug. 1.

The action was in response to a complaint filed by Free Press, a nonprofit group that advocates for network neutrality, the idea that all Internet content should be treated equally.

Mr. Martin’s order would require Comcast to stop its practice of blocking, provide details to the commission on the extent and manner in which the practice was used and give consumers detailed information on how it planned to manage its network in the future.

The F.C.C. approved a policy statement in September 2005 that outlined a set of principles meant to ensure that broadband networks were “widely deployed, open, affordable and accessible to all consumers.”
Oddly enough, Martin doesn't even need his fellow Republicans to pass the recommendation. He just needs the votes of the FCC's two Democrats - Commissioners Adelstein and Copps.

Of course, the fight is hardly over, as FreePress notes:
Today we can celebrate a huge victory for real people, but we need to continue this fight to send a clear signal to the next Congress and White House that standing with regular people for a free and open Internet is a winning proposition.
Congress still needs to be pushed - strongly - to make net neutrality the law.


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