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FCC says no you didn't to Comcast

The FCC and Comcast have been at odds over network management since the FCC issued an enforcement action against Comcast in 2008 for unreasonable network traffic management. The action stemmed form Comcast slowing access to peer-to-peer data sharing sites and lying to the press and consumers about the practice.

The FCC action was a mere slap on the wrist with no significant monetary fine. The actions were limited to the FCC forcing Comcast to be more transparent about its data shaping practices and to provide the FCC with a plan of how it would stop discriminatory practices by the end of 2008, which it submitted on time.

Comcast is still fighting the ruling and has filed a brief with the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals claiming that the FCC based its decision for action against Comcast on its Internet Policy Principles, which are not officially commission rules. Comcast argues that since the principles are not official rules they are not enforceable and asks the court to throw out the decision.

The FCC for its part says that it has authority in this instance granted to it by the Communications Act of 1934, the Telecommunications Act of 1996, and because of its authority over cable companies. Comcast isn't appealing the ruling or the sanctions reports PC World – Comcast is challenging the authority of the FCC to examine the issue at all.

Comcast wrote in the filing, "The order is unlawful because it enforced mere policy – not any provision of federal law – against Comcast. The commission's action was procedurally improper and violated bedrock principles of fair notice." Comcast continued, "In short, the FCC erred in enforcing mere policy … and this court can and should dispose of this case on that ground alone."

The FCC on the other hand wrote in its filing, "[FCC] determinations were lawful and reasonable. The brief also said, "Congress created the FCC for cases such as this one."

The FCC also wrote in the statement, "When it [the FCC] approved Comcast's acquisition of another cable system, the commission warned that any interference by Comcast with its customers' access to Internet content and applications would be assessed under the standards of the Internet Policy Statement. Comcast ignored that crystal clear warning. It cannot seriously claim to be surprised by the consequences."

The FCC plans to vote on making the Internet Policy Principles official rules as it looks at net neutrality issues.





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