Comcast Appeals FCC's Wrist Slap

from the you-can't-even-not-punish-us! dept

As was widely expected, Comcast has appealed the FCC's ruling concerning its traffic shaping practices -- even though that ruling was a total slap on the wrist that had no real punishment other than a verbal scolding. But, of course, for Comcast, it's a question of principle -- with the principle being that the FCC has no authority over it on this matter (except, of course, when it's politically convenient for Comcast to say otherwise).

While the ruling against Comcast was rather pointless and meaningless, this appeal could create a much more interesting lawsuit, helping to more clearly define the FCC's authority on these issues. Amusingly, despite the effective issues being identical to the question of the FCC's authority over consumer electronics in the broadcast flag debate from four years ago, expect various public interest groups to align on the opposite sides of where they did back during that fight. Apparently, FCC regulation is bad, except when it's in agreement with your opinion.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    jFve, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 12:25am

    I'm torn on this issue. I don't like capping bandwidth in order to charge more. BUT, I don't like govt stepping in and telling the private secor what they can and can't do. We aren't running out of bandwidth any time soon. Comcast should come clean with their intentions. Just come out with it like they did with UP/DL speeds. Verizon offers tiers of speed. Why not just do it here?

    For the record:
    I hate the FCC and I hate Comcast.

     

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  2.  
    identicon
    bobbknight, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 2:45am

    Do What Dhey Say

    To steal what Cleavon Little said during the first prt of Blazing Saddles.
    I would not have a problem with the cable companies doing what the do if they are up front about it. That means no fine print on the 18th page of the customer agreement.
    Though it would be nice to have more of a choice in service providers.
    Google has all this capacity I wish they would do something with it.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 4:28am

    from the Boardroom . . .

    "We already paid for all these lawyers, lobbyist and politicians . . . we might as well use them."

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    R, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 4:53am

    Yeah right

    We aren't running out of bandwidth any time soon.
    Think again. Currently, only 15% of people use BitTorrent. Now, while these people break the law, their numbers are growing, especially since it is becoming more common to release music/videos for free. These 15% use something like 90% of the available bandwidth, so it's going to be a pretty big problem soon. Also consider that the digital quality of video is increasing - more and more videos are being released in Full HD. A 30 minute 640 X 480 video is 250 MB in size, and this is the lowest resolution you'l find. Many are already being released in 720p. A Standard Definition movie is about 1 GB, may be as much as 4 GB, while a HD 1080p movie is ~12 GB. The greatest problem with these caps is their potential to cripple new, innovative approaches to delivery content over the internet, since even if it is free, users will still have to pay for it in terms of bandwidth. I live in Australia, and our internet infrastructure is appalling. It costs us close to $100 / month for a 60 GB cap(and this is the most generous provider available - the average cap is ~20 GB), so I am well aware of the problems associated with caps. While it is true that the ISPs have limited resources, they need to acknowledge that they're is going to be a huge increase in bandwidth consumption soon, and they will have to upgrade their infrastructure. It is the responsibility of the FCC to ensure that the service is being provided to us fairly, and if the ISPs are not providing the connection speeds they claim, that's unfair. However, the FCC also has a moral obligation not to constrict innovation, and this also needs to be considered.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:08am

    Strange . . .

    They never tried to get patents on "flat tops", short-sleeved dress shirts or pocket protectors?

     

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  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:29am

    Re: Yeah right

    Go away shill. It's been debunked by smarter people than you.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Vito, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:46am

    Re: Yeah right

    R:
    I just downloaded Solaris v.10 from Sun's website using BitTorrent. How did I break the law?
    Thanks.
    Vito

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 5:56am

    RE: Yeah Right

    R:

    15% use 90% of the available bandwidth. You got facts to back this up? While I would believe that 15% of bittorent users account for 90% of the traffic out there they do not use 90% of all available bandwidth! There is a lot of bandwidth sitting out there un tapped and different ways to access it. We should not be shelling out a ridiculous amounts to cash to companies so they can sit on their hands and not improve their infrastructure to handle advancements in technology.

    On your comment of video quality. As video quality increases so does compression techniques. a properly coded 178 meg mkv file looks years ahead a 178 meg avi file made by the same distribution group! Sure the MKV file requires your computer to have much more horse power than the avi file but computers are advancing in power every day.

    If these companies had a reason to advance their infrastructure they would, but as it is they have monopolies and no reason to be progressive with their business models.

     

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  9.  
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    seeing clearly, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 6:30am

    a little logic for some of you

    comcast or any other ISP that builds its own network and pays to use other networks to provide internet can and should be able to do whatever it wants with its own resources. if you think you pay an unfairly large amount, GO SOMEWHERE ELSE for service.

    cable companies don't ask for a monopoly any more than all other utility companies do. that's called a franchise agreement and is done at a local government level. THEY are the ones who decides there will be a monopoly.

     

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  10.  
    identicon
    Manyguns, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 7:39am

    RE: Yeah Right/seeing clearly

    Yeah Right:

    "...Now, while these people break the law..."

    That statement alone displays your ignorance in this matter. Using torrents is not the same as breaking the law, there are many legit and legal uses of torrents. As for the rest of your comment, refer to comment #8, spot on.


    seeing clearly:

    You really aren't seeing very clearly in this matter, the majority of people have 2 choices for high speed internet, each across a different medium. You can get DSL or Cable, not all locations provide both, but not all locations are limited to just those either. So really, it's not as simple as "GO SOMEWHERE ELSE for service."

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    Christopher Smith, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 7:51am

    Re: a little logic for some of you

    This pretty sums up what should be the case (i.e., that you should just be able to choose another provider). The current situation, though, is that the local phone company and the local cable company essentially have a duopoly that's been able to build a subsidized infrastructure, and that buildout cost is a massive barrier to entry for competitors.

    Thus, while I'm generally opposed to government regulation, the fact that government has already handed these companies an effectively insurmountable advantage also means that regulations are necessary to protect consumers.

    I'd prefer something closer to the Texas electric model, where the actual power lines are operated by a (heavily) regulated company, but individuals choose their own electric providers. It's far from perfect, but it's the best thing I can see this side of a coop.

     

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  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:00am

    Re:

    It's getting closer to when the infrastructure for the Internet in America is going to have to become a public utility rather than private sector.

    There is no real competition between the players, and they aren't investing back into their infrastructure for the most part. In this day and age, the Internet is vital for a nation to compete with others.

    I'd rather treat it like power or water, and just pay for what I use. The only fear is if the prices get set wrong as to become unusable or they'll legislate away some of my 'internet rights.'

     

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  13.  
    identicon
    Runner, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:21am

    Re: Lesser of two evils

    OTS and Fed or the morgage crisis, the SEC or insider trading. Regulation is required to "level" the playing field.

     

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  14.  
    identicon
    illDecree, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 8:39am

    Internal Comcast Email

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    Chronno S. Trigger, Sep 5th, 2008 @ 10:04am

    Re: Yeah right

    There seems to be something that people don't get. There is no limit to how many bits we have. If I download 2Mb or 200Eb, there is still an infinite supply on the other end (and on mine as well). I have payed the same amount for my network at home for the past 4 years, $0. I have maxed out my bandwidth but I have never run out of bits.

    On October first, Comcast is implementing a 250G/month download limit. With a little effort I can get that in a week (24Mbps download). How with this help the bandwidth issues?

    On September 30th, I am calling Comcast and canceling my service, and I will let them know exactly why. Verizon is still unlimited, for now.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Sep 5th, 2008 @ 2:16pm

    Re: Yeah right

    Think again. Currently, only 15% of people use BitTorrent. Now, while these people break the law, their numbers are growing, especially since it is becoming more common to release music/videos for free.

    And that's why internet traffic growth is slowing, right?

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080903/2020352161.shtml

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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