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FCC Calls for Sanctions Against Comcast for Blocking Internet Traffic

The head of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), Kevin Martin, intends to recommend that Comcast, U.S.'s largest cable company, be punished for violating agency principles that guarantee customers open access to the Internet. Martin said Comcast has "arbitrarily" blocked Internet access, regardless of the level of traffic, and failed to disclose to consumers that it was doing so.

From today's Associated Press report: "Mr. Martin will circulate an order recommending enforcement action against the company on Friday among his fellow commissioners, who will vote on the measure at an open meeting on Aug. 1… Martin, a Republican, will likely get support from the two Democrats on the commission, who are both proponents of the network neutrality concept. Those three votes would be enough for a majority on the five-member commission."

Update: Gigi B. Sohn, president and co-founder of Public Knowledge, which originally filed the complaint against Comcast has made the following statements in response to FCC's recent announcements:

"We are pleased that Chairman Martin has decided to enforce the Commission's policies preserving the rights of Internet users. Comcast's conduct in throttling Internet traffic was deplorable when it was discovered, and remains deplorable today.

We hope that the other commissioners will agree, will order the company to stop blocking and throttling Internet traffic and will make it clear that this type of behavior from any Internet Service Provider will not be tolerated.

At the same time, this case is limited in scope to one company and to one type of behavior. Even if the Commission ultimately issues an order against Comcast, there is still a need for legislation to prohibit discrimination by telephone and cable companies while preserving the rights of Internet users and companies that do business on the Internet.

Whether blocking traffic or collecting data without customers knowledge, ISPs must know that they cannot impose themselves between consumers and consumers' online activities."

More Updates:
No Fines for Comcast 7/11/2008 - CircleID

Elsewhere:
Public Knowledge Optimistic About FCC Action on Comcast 7/11/2008 - Public Knowledge
FCC Boss Says Comcast Guilty, Should Be Punished 7/11/2008 - BroadbandReports
Kevin Martin Flunks the Test 7/11/2008 - Broadband Politics
FCC Chairman Seeks to End Comcast's Delay of File Sharing 7/12/2008 - Washington Post

Read full story: Associated Press

By CircleID Reporter – CircleID's internal staff reporting on news tips and developing stories. Do you have information the professional Internet community should be aware of? Contact us. Visit Page

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