Comcast to Appeal Web Blocking Decision

Comcast is appealing an FCC ruling that the company is improperly blocking customers’ Web traffic, triggering a legal battle that could determine the extent of the government’s authority to regulate the Internet. The Comcast case arose from complaints by users of file-sharing software often used to download large data files.

In a precedent-setting move, a divided FCC last month determined that the company is violating a federal policy that guarantees unfettered access to the Internet.

The FCC noted Comcast’s network management practices were “discriminatory and arbitrary” and that the company’s practices “contravene industry standards and have significantly impeded Internet users’ ability to use applications and access content of their choice.”  Full text here.

Interestingly, the FCC opinion also expressed the FCC’s desire to be “the” administrative agency involved with Internet regulation. Their opinion utilizes the FCC’s New Principles Preserve and Promote the Open and Interconnected Nature of Public Internet, which Comcast has stated is merely a policy, not an enforceable law.  (Full text Appeal here)

This action is the first test of the FCC’s network neutrality principles, which may mean that there is no need for Network Neutrality legislation in the future, although both Presidential candidates currently have positions on the issue.

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