Comcast Put On Notice By Net Neutrality Complaint

Communications cable peer-to-peer

The complaint says Comcast is violating FCC's Internet Policy Statement, created to give consumers access to applications, services and content of their choice over the Internet, so-called net neutrality.

Citing an Associated Press report last month, the complaint said Comcast was intentionally degrading peer-to-peer traffic from BiTorrent's file-sharing networks.

"Peer-to-peer applications, notably BitTorrent, which Comcast degrades, are emerging as the primary means for content-providers to distribute legal movies and other video programs, while Comcast has an economic incentive to undermine competitors to its cable video-programming distribution," the complaint said.

"The FCC must act now to resolve this controversy," the complaint added. "Indeed, because Comcast claims its actions meet the terms of the FCC's Internet Policy Statement, even those broadband service providers now subject to the Policy Statement under merger agreements -- namely ATT&T and Verizon -- may be emboldened to engage in such activity."

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Comcast has denied that the company blocks any such Internet traffic and has said the AP report did not prove it had done so.

The net neutrality issue pits phone companies, which argue that they should be allowed to charge more for carrying specialized Internet traffic, against consumer groups and some large companies such as Google and Microsoft, which offer Web-based content and services.

The co-signers of the complaint include the Consumer Federation of America; Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports; Media Access Project; Public Knowledge; and professors at the Internet practices of the Yale, Harvard and Stanford law schools.