Will Comcast's Own Words Kill Its Lawsuit Against The FCC?
from the seems-pretty-damning dept
Last year, when the FCC was busy slapping Comcast’s wrist for its traffic shaping policies, Comcast pointed out that it wasn’t clear the FCC had the authority to do so. I tend to agree, actually. It’s not at all clear that the FCC really has a mandate to tell private network operators what they can do with their network — though, if that argument gets anywhere, it seems likely that a net neutrality-friendly Congress will quickly adjust and add it to the FCC’s mandate. However, what was odd was that Comcast waited over a year before finally going to court over this issue. To be honest, I can’t see what Comcast “wins” here, even if it wins the case. Congress would likely change the FCC’s mandate. Separately, the FTC actually might have a stronger case here, as the real problem wasn’t necessarily the traffic shaping, but Comcast’s refusal to tell users about it, effectively providing false advertising to customers. That’s an FTC issue.
But a much bigger problem for Comcast may be the fact that the company has had no problem actively promoting the FCC’s supposed “mandate” over them when it suits them. In a separate lawsuit over the very same traffic shaping, Comcast tried to get out of the lawsuit by claiming it was an issue covered by the FCC:
This issue “i.e., the reasonableness of a broadband provider’s network management practices” has, however, been firmly placed within the jurisdiction of the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”), an administrative agency whose authority to regulate internet broadband access companies’ services is well-established.
You have to imagine that this quote from Comcast will be prominently displayed by the FCC in response to Comcast’s latest action.