FCC To Investigate Comcast Filtering; Questions Why Comcast Wasn't Forthcoming

from the what-about-if-it-had-been-a-telco? dept

The FCC hasn't appeared to have much of an issue with the various telcos spouting off about how they need to block certain kinds of traffic. In fact, even when AT&T agreed to keep its network neutral (sort of, but not really), FCC chair Kevin Martin made it clear that he wouldn't hold AT&T to its concessions on network neutrality. However, when a cable company, such as Comcast, starts doing some traffic shaping... well, that's a different story. There was a big fuss last year about Comcast's traffic shaping efforts. While it took a little while, the FCC has now said that it's going to probe Comcast's traffic shaping actions. Now, as we've said from the beginning, if Comcast feels it needs to do this kind of traffic shaping, that's one thing -- but there's simply no good reason (and a number of bad ones) not to be upfront and let its customers know about this. In fact, that appears to be a part of the FCC's thinking, as well, noting that the FCC allows "reasonable network practices" to protect a network, but: "when they have reasonable network practices, they should disclose those and make those public." Martin clearly has no love for cable companies, but how the FCC handles this issue could become important in determining how the FCC deals with other traffic shaping issues in the future.
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Filed Under: fcc, filtering, net neutrality
Companies: comcast


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  • identicon
    Cixelsid, 8 Jan 2008 @ 4:43pm

    "Martin clearly has no love for cable companies"

    Why you gotta be such a hater Martin? I gots love, I gots love for all o' ya.

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

  • icon
    GeneralEmergency (profile), 8 Jan 2008 @ 5:03pm

    Ummm....I'm confused.

    "Now, as we've said from the beginning, if Comcast feels it needs to do this kind of traffic shaping, that's one thing -- but there's simply no good reason (and a number of bad ones) not to be upfront and let its customers know about this."

    ...But wouldn't this kind of consumer fraud (non-disclosure of terms of service) be more of an action for the Federal Trade Commision's Bureau of Consumer Protection?

    From Wikipedia:
    The Bureau of Consumer Protection’s mandate is to protect consumers against "unfair" or deceptive acts or practices in commerce. With the written consent of the Commission, Bureau attorneys enforce federal laws related to consumer affairs as well as rules promulgated by the FTC. Its functions include investigations, enforcement actions, and consumer and business education. Areas of principal concern for this bureau are: advertising and marketing, financial products and practices, telemarketing fraud, privacy and identity protection etc. The bureau also is responsible for the United States National Do Not Call Registry.

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

    • identicon
      mOjO, 8 Jan 2008 @ 9:47pm

      Re: Ummm....I'm confused.

      An excellent point. As you stated it's pretty much written into the definition of the FTC. However, as the author hinted at, the FCC has unfortunately been quite obviously in bed with AT&T for a while and considering the heated rivalry between AT&T and Comcast lately ala AT&T's IPTV venture and Comcast's digital voice VoIP services, it's almost blazingly obvious that the FCC is just AT&T's lapdog in this one. That being said, I hope AT&T later finds that sword to be a double edged one as the precedent becomes set for the FCC to punish dishonest traffic filtering practices, it won't be under this leadership obviously but their day may yet come.

      I have no love for either company as both of their business practices have been under-handed, despicable, and rarely in the best interests of the people they serve.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2008 @ 6:58am

        Re: Re: Ummm....I'm confused.

        Since when (in the past 30-40 years) has any company been concerned with what their customers want? They are in it for the power and money. There is no other motivation. So, lets call everything what it really is and not get hung up on the customer aspect. The customer is just a slave to them and that is all they will ever be... unless they voice their opinion by purchasing enough stock to have a say (yeah right, like any of us have enough money).

        Corporate mentality is you will take what I give you and you will like it. If you don't like it, go cry somewhere else.

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


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