Feeds

Campaigners celebrate Comcastration

FCC slaps cable giant

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

As expected, the US telecoms regulator has censured Comcast for violating "net neutrality" principles laid down in 2005. And as expected, Comcast has strongly hinted it will challenge the decision, arguing that it violates the FCC's own rule making obligations.

Commissioners Copps and Adelstein sided with chairman Martin in a 3:2 vote to issue an "enforcement order" against Comcast for resetting Bittorrent uploads at times of peak congestion. Comcast initially denied the practice, and has since disowned it. The case was brought by P2P service Vuze with campaign group Free Press, and was backed by Google-funded law departments at Harvard and Stanford.

Free Press hailed the decision.

"Defying every ounce of conventional wisdom in Washington, everyday people have taken on a major corporation and won a historic precedent for an open Internet," the group said.

Comcast said it was relieved the FCC didn't impose a fine, and said the technique was "reasonable, wholly consistent with industry practices," adding "we did not block access to Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services"

The cable giant also hinted at a legal challenge.

"We also believe that the Commission’s order raises significant due process concerns and a variety of substantive legal questions. We are considering all our legal options and are disappointed that the commission rejected our attempts to settle this issue without further delays."

The FCC can only act in areas authorized by Congress, and this clearly exceeds its authority, since no neutrality legislation has succeeded democratically.

As Declan McCullagh noted earlier this week, while a judicial challenge is likely to be successful, it poses risks for the network operator of greater bureaucratic meddling:

"For now, at least, the vagueness of the FCC's Net neutrality principles can be useful to both sides: broadband providers and Free Press can point to them as supporting their respective positions. If a court declares them to be unlawful, the ruling could invite more specific regulations or explicit legislation from Congress," he wrote.

For now, the Neutrality campaigners have won the symbolic victory they wanted so much.®

New hybrid storage solutions

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Turnbull: NBN won't turn your town into Silicon Valley
'People have been brainwashed to believe that their world will be changed forever if they get FTTP'
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.