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.

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Companies: comcast, fcc

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Comments on “Will Comcast's Own Words Kill Its Lawsuit Against The FCC?”

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teknosapien (profile) says:

That would be like saying

that your telco can only direct your calls to commercial/emergency entities it deemed appropriate because it didn’t like how others conducted business, Or hadn’t paid for routing to their number. Mark my words this is the beginning of a ride on a slippery slope that I certainly don’t want to take.

How long before they squeeze out companies like Vonage just because they can degrade network performance for that particular vendor that is in direct competition with comcast voice service?

Frosty840 says:

Hey, Mike, for the benefit of those outside the US and not absolutely familiar with US government entities, could you try to do the customary thing and explicitly label the first uses of acronyms?

I ask, not because I can’t take a guess at which “FCC” you mean, but because at the end of the first paragraph you switch to “FTC” for a couple of references, and heck, for all I know, that’s a typo, and not a deliberate reference to the Federal Trade Commission. Again, I’m not intimately familiar with the US systems, so I’m not absolutely sure.

Pulling the string “FTC” up to Firefox’s tabs bar brings up a window for “feedthechildren.com”, and an “I’m feeling lucky” search for FTC brings up the website of someone who’s probably paid an awful lot of money for that to be the case. I point this out because there are people even more clueless than me on the internet…

At least, I hope there are…

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Hey, Mike, for the benefit of those outside the US and not absolutely familiar with US government entities, could you try to do the customary thing and explicitly label the first uses of acronyms?

Hey, sorry. We usually avoid that on acronyms we assume are well known, because after a certain point it just gets annoying.


FCC: Federal Communications Commission. Deals with spectrum allocation, other federally regulated communications services.

FTC: Federal Trade Commission. Deals with, among other things, business regulations, such as truth-in-advertising and consumer protections.

Tim (profile) says:

Is it really a private network though?

I understand what you’re saying but considering that a lot of the telco’s were practically handed the networks from public ownership, funded in part by public funds, given access to public research e.g. ARPANET and CERN with TCP/IP etc etc if it wasn’t for all that public money used to build the core technologies of these early networks or the actual networks themselves these companies wouldn’t be able to make all this money. Couldn’t it be argued that because of the very history of the internet and it’s founding that the FCC does have such a mandate?

chris (profile) says:

Re: Is it really a private network though?

Couldn’t it be argued that because of the very history of the internet and it’s founding that the FCC does have such a mandate?

this is america hippie and in the good ol’ US of A we believe in profits above all else. big. corporate. profits.

so no, comcast doesn’t have to support your commie notion of “competition” or your gay liberal first amendment rights and they sure as hell don’t have to do what the FCC says just because they were built on government money.

son, these are corporate profits we are talking about here. corporate profits are the kind of stuff this great nation of ours was built on and that our forefathers fought for and died to protect.

all that hippie nonsense will affect comcast’s god given right to profit handsomely by stomping out their competition and using their monopoly status to offer less and less while charging more and more.

so get a haircut, get a job, and stop all this commie BS about the FCC. once you have some profits of your own you’ll understand how important it is to protect them. the end always justifies the means when it comes to protecting those sweet delicious profits.

zellamayzao says:

Re: Re: Is it really a private network though?

haha wow you got me cracking up with that post.

But unfortunately it is mostly true. Big companies will do whatever they can (legal or otherwise) to protect what they think they are entitled to.

In the Delaware area comcast has, in the last 6-8 months, moved 5 channels from the basic cable line-up into the digital spectrum and raised the price 5 dollars a month.

Soooo for 5 less channels its cost us 5 more bucks? where is the logic and equivalent price association?

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