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

Saturday, July 26, 2008

FCC orders Comcast to stop restricting access to the Internet

Yesterday, in a historic decision, the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to order Comcast to stop restricting its customers' access to the Internet, quit blocking BitTorrent traffic, and require public disclosure of its network management practices. Commissioners Jonathan Adelstein, Michael Copps, and Chairman Kevin Martin voted in favor of finding Comcast in violation of FCC rules.

As FreePress explains, Comcast has been jeopardizing net neutrality:
Last fall, tests by the Associated Press and others exposed that Comcast was blocking users' legal peer-to-peer traffic by sending fake signals that cut off the connection between file-sharers.

The Max Planck Institute in Germany later confirmed that Comcast was blocking peer-to-peer traffic at all times of the day and night -- not just during times of peak Internet use.

Today's vote follows a months-long FCC investigation, launched in response to filings by Free Press (PDF) and members of the Coalition urging the federal agency to stop Comcast's harmful blocking. Since January, tens of thousands of people have filed comments with the commission, and hundreds have attended public hearings at Harvard, Stanford and Carnegie Mellon universities.
The FCC in 2005 issued a statement which provided an outline of Net Neutrality principles. According to that document, customers of internet service providers like Verizon or Comcast have the right to access any content or service online, provided that it is legal and does not cause harm to the network.


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