FCC loses key ruling on Internet `neutrality'
Posted 4/6/10 , edited 4/6/10
So apparently this article was posted about 5 hours ago of this posting: FCC loses key ruling on Internet `neutrality'

Source -> http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j7zvEbTdrfaVvQLIKpy5dy4bmufQD9ETM9VG0

This has me concerned... so basically Comcast could decide to block bit torrent if it wants to for me and stop be from say downloading the TSL VODs because it is a program that hogs up too much bandwidth? Or they could just block whatever websites they deem unfit or "that compete with their core businesses..." This seems ridiculous to me and I hope something is done about this decision. Either an appeal or a way around it or we might have to shop for internet based on who blocks what.

I'll quote the article in full:


FCC loses key ruling on Internet `neutrality'

By JOELLE TESSLER (AP) – 5 hours ago

WASHINGTON — A federal court threw the future of Internet regulations and U.S. broadband expansion plans into doubt Tuesday with a far-reaching decision that went against the Federal Communications Commission.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the FCC lacks the authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks. That was a big victory for Comcast Corp., the nation's largest cable company, which had challenged the FCC's authority to impose such "Net neutrality" obligations on broadband providers.

The ruling marks a serious setback for the FCC, which is trying to adopt official net neutrality regulations. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, a Democrat, argues that such rules are needed to prevent phone and cable companies from using their control over Internet access to favor some online content and services over others.

The decision also has serious implications for the massive national broadband plan released by the FCC last month. The FCC needs clear authority to regulate broadband in order to push ahead with some its key recommendations, including a proposal to expand broadband by tapping the federal fund that subsidizes telephone service in poor and rural communities.

Comcast and the FCC had no immediate comment.

The court case centered on Comcast's challenge of a 2008 FCC order banning the company from blocking its broadband subscribers from using an online file-sharing technology known as BitTorrent. The commission, at the time headed by Republican Kevin Martin, based its order on a set of Net-neutrality principles it adopted in 2005 to prevent broadband providers from becoming online gatekeepers. Those principles have guided the FCC's enforcement of communications laws on a case-by-case basis.

But Comcast had argued that the FCC order was illegal because the agency was seeking to enforce mere policy principles, which don't have the force of regulations or law. That is one reason that Genachowski is now trying to formalize those rules.

The cable company had also argued that the FCC lacks authority to mandate Net neutrality because it deregulated broadband in a decision upheld by the Supreme Court in 2005.

The FCC now defines broadband as a lightly regulated information service. That means it is not subject to the obligations traditional telecommunications services have to share their networks with competitors and treat all traffic equally. But the agency argues that existing law gives it authority to set rules for information services, including Net neutrality rules.

Tuesday's court decision rejected that reasoning, concluding that Congress has not given the FCC "untrammeled freedom to regulate activities over which the statute fails to confer ... commission authority."

With so much at stake, the FCC now has several options. It could ask Congress to give it explicit authority to regulate broadband. Or it could appeal Tuesday's decision to the Supreme Court.

But both of those steps could take too long because the agency "has too many important things they have to do right away," said Ben Scott, policy director for the public interest group Free Press. Free Press was among the groups that alerted the FCC to Comcast's behavior after The Associated Press ran tests and reported that the cable company was interfering with attempts by some subscribers to share files online.

The more likely scenario, Scott believes, is that the agency will simply reclassify broadband as a more heavily regulated telecommuniciations service. And that, ironically, could be the worst-case outcome from the perspective of the phone and cable companies, he noted.

"Comcast swung an ax at the FCC to protest the BitTorrent order," Scott said. "And they sliced right through the FCC's arm and plunged the ax into their own back."

The battle over the FCC's legal jurisdiction comes amid a larger policy dispute over the merits of Net neutrality. Backed by Internet companies such as Google Inc. and the online calling service Skype, the FCC says rules are needed to prevent phone and cable companies from degrading or blocking cheaper Internet calling services or online video sites that compete with their core businesses. Indeed, BitTorrent can be used to transfer large files such as online video, which could threaten Comcast's cable TV business.

But broadband providers such as Comcast, AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. argue that after spending billions of dollars on their networks, they should be able to manage their systems so that high-bandwidth applications such as BitTorrent don't hog capacity and slow the network for everyone else.

Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Posted 4/6/10
Don't know what to say about this =T
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Posted 4/6/10
This is why I never use comcast anymore. Their rates go up every year, they're buying or have already bought a stake in NBC, it's like they wanna be the next AOL/Time Warner. They took Versus off Directv for a few months.

And now these bastards wanna control how we use our internet. I'm on a different provider and even though it's not the greatest, at least I don't have to worry about my internet being controlled.
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Posted 4/6/10
This reminds me of when people used to hijack the telephones for a free line.
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M / Crapsack World
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Posted 4/7/10
It look like Big Brother is tightening his rein in the internet.
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26 / M / South Houston
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Posted 4/7/10
SON. OF. A. BITCH.
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28 / M / California, US
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Posted 4/8/10
There's a lot of things in the government need revision with and this is one of the case. Comcast used to be an awesome provider(back then around 2001 or 02 ). I read the article about FCC going revise their net neutrality, this might of showed how weak FCC has power over broadband but it also gives reason for FCC to overlook at their act and make a new now. I ain't surprised about bittorrent being throttled, it was first done to limit pirating(though that didn't stop people from using it).Comcast is not download friendly, just for simple usage to the inter-web.
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27 / M / Sweden
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Posted 4/8/10
well thats not fun...
The ISPs in the US is already offering expensive internet with speed that sucks.


Most ISPs over here refuses to block or censor anything... and they dont give out information about their customers to anyone without a fight.
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