Comcast continued its resistance to FCC interference last week,
with Vice President David L. Cohen firing
a strongly-worded and thinly-veiled shot across the FCC’s bow.
“The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the
marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has
been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience)
to be enormously successful,” wrote Cohen in a letter
(PDF) filed March 11. “Bearing these facts in mind should
obviate the need for the Commission to test its legal authority.”
Cohen proceeded to pick apart the FCC’s authority, pointing out
that the bureau’s own policies prohibit it from acting because they
have “no force of law.” He cited the 2002 Cable Modem Declaratory
Ruling, which classified cable modem service as an “information
service” instead of a “common carrier,” therefore exempting
Comcast from the FCC’s authority as codified in the
Telecommunications Act of 1996 – a status upheld by the Supreme
Court in the 2005 Brand
“Any attempt to justify an injunction on Comcast based on a
statutory provision that is explicitly limited to common carriers
would violate the Communications Act and be arbitrary and
capricious,” wrote Cohen.
Cohen further argued that a sudden shift in FCC policy would
violate the Administrative Procedures Act, noting that the FCC is not
permitted to “switch abruptly from an explicit policy of relying on
market forces” to a “new regime” where ISP decisions are
“subject to governmental second-guessing and disruption.”
Comcast earned the FCC’s scrutiny in 2007 after it was
discovered that the company took an intrusive,
novel approach to controlling users’ BitTorrent usage,
effectively cutting off users from using the service at reasonable
speeds. Fouling up its attempts to explain itself, Comcast quickly
earned a fierce
public outcry and the attention
of the FCC.
Comcast has since made it clear that it is not interested in the
FCC’s interference, hiring
seat warmers to sit in during an awkward meeting that saw
the company grilled on its “reasonable” network policies.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin appears unfazed by Comcast’s
responses. Referring to Comcast’s dodging-the-question
when asked about its network policy, Martin attacked it directly: “A hallmark of what should be seen as a
reasonable business practice is certainly whether or not the people
engaging in that practice are willing to describe it publicly.”
quote: But depending on what Comcast jacks my price up to next month I'll probably go with Dish or DirectTV and suck up the price of internet thru COMCAST.
quote: "restart your router and modem" "sorry looks like your router is bad, it's not our fault" "go buy a new router or modem"
quote: this isn't socialist EU.
quote: besides, there ARE other choices for TV and internet in most areas.there is at least satellite for TV and DSL for internet in most places. many markets now have FIOS and/or IPTV.
quote: About the FCCThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is an independent United States government agency, directly responsible to Congress. The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. The FCC's jurisdiction covers the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and U.S. possessions.
quote: Cohen proceeded to pick apart the FCC’s authority, pointing out that the bureau’s own policies prohibit it from acting because they have “no force of law.
quote: I'm not sure how he can make such a statement without data to back up how much bandwidth legitimate services are utilizing versus P2P.
quote: I wanted to setup a a website at home