F.C.C. Chief Backs Sanctions Against Comcast Over Blocking

By | July 11, 2008

FCC Chief Backs Sanctions Against Comcast Over Blocking

Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said on Friday that Comcast, the nation’s largest cable company, should be sanctioned because it interfered with the Internet connections of users who wanted to exchange files with each other.

Mr. Martin’s recommendation is a strong statement in favor of network neutrality, the idea that Internet access providers like Comcast should not be allowed to favor some uses of their networks over others. Internet companies like Google and free speech advocates have backed this approach.

The cable and phone companies that provide most of the nation’s Internet service have argued that such rules are not needed. They have said they should be free to run their networks as they see fit, and that there had been no cases of problems with such discrimination.

Comcast’s practice of slowing the use of BitTorrent, a method of trading video, music and software files, provides such a case.

Mr. Martin’s recommendation, which will need to be approved by the full commission, would not impose a fine. But it would force Comcast to change its practices and disclose what it did in the past. – nytimes

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