Posted February 26, 2008 5:24 pm by with 8 comments

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The FCC continues to investigate the allegedly “anti-Net-Neutral” actions of ISP (and cable co) Comcast. If you’ve missed this story so far, Comcast has terminated some P2P file sharing and allegedly impersonated its subscribers to do so (they send messages on BitTorrent telling each participant in a transfer that the other canceled the transfer). FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said last month that the FCC would investigate the reports.

At the time, Comcast said they would fully comply with the investigation, but since then, things have grown a little ugly. Comcast has provided information and testimony to the FCC, but they’ve also argued that the FCC has no right to enforce Net Neutrality.

I’m not sure if anyone told them that informing a federal commission in charge of your industry that their statement on this subject, specifically the FCC “Internet policy statement, in which it [the FCC] endorses net neutrality in general, ‘was not published in the Federal Register and is not contained in the Code of Federal Regulations,’ and therefore does not have ‘binding legal effect'” is not a good way to make them happy with you.

(Guess what, Comcast? If they decide against you, that has “binding legal effect.” And PS, this ain’t governance. Welcome to administration, where the rule of law doesn’t actually apply.)

Earlier this week, Chairman Martin called Comcast spokesman David Cohen on the company’s statements (via MediaPost, emphasis added):

Martin told Cohen that one of the reasons he has spoken out against new legislation is because the FCC currently has the power to enforce neutrality principles, and then asked him point blank whether Comcast disputes that.

“We don’t think Comcast [? The FCC?] has the authority to enforce principles that it has adopted with the explicit statement that they are not enforceable principles,” was Cohen’s first attempt at a response.

Martin rephrased the question, asking him again whether Comcast believes the FCC has the authority to order a halt to impeding traffic or imposing a fine, to which Cohen responded he would “stand by our filing in this … which spends 10% of its time noting that the Commission does not have the authority to impose a forfeiture fine.”

Martin tried once more, this time just asking whether Comcast believes the FCC can order it to stop slowing down traffic to peer-to-peer sites.

Cohen’s response: “I’m not 100% sure. I’ll get back to you.”

Yeah. You do that. For a roundup of more quotations from yesterday’s FCC conference on Net Neutrality at Harvard Law School, see paidContent.

  • Check out what Comcast is doing in Boston…

  • Comshaft is one of the least customer service friendly companies ever. I hate them with a passion.

  • That is some messed up s**t that Comcast has been caught doing. It’s like someone cancelling your order for cigarettes, porn, alcohol, or any item others might deem “forbidden” and pretending it was you doing the cancelling.

    When are the politically correct police going to stop making decisions for us alleged “grownups” – deciding what we can and can’t do online?

    Just because Comcast has access to people’s account information doesn’t mean that they should use it.

    You wouldn’t put up with your bank transferring money out of your account to prevent you from spending it on “bad things.” And that’s just one step removed from what Comcast has been up to.


    Jennifer aka “Internet Marketing Badger”

  • This whole thing will be fun to watch unfold. Now I actually have to pay attention to the news. 🙂

  • To fight back, get involved at

  • Nice responses by David Cohen. Doesn’t exactly seem like he grasps what’s happening.

    I’ve been happy that so for all the reports I’ve seen show the FCC supporting net neutrality.

    Peter I read an article similar to the one you posted. Comcast is claiming they hired the ‘seats’ in response to the advocacy group Free Press doing the same. I guess the tactic isn’t completely new either. It still doesn’t make Comcast look good.

  • Noni Kateus

    Brroother! Comcast’s reputation took a beating in my book when one of their drivers and vehicles darned near sideswiped me in a stupid traffic maneuver in which it/they violated several traffic laws. NOW, in a much larger and more important vista, Comcast is stooped to what??? I won’t do business with any organization that functions under false pretenses and then thinks they would like to dictate law. When a business entity intentionally misleads, they don’t deserve anyone’s $$ or trust, and lose any ‘voice of authority’ they (may) have had.
    n.kateus [link removed]

  • Comcast is charging me $69 a month just for cable modem service. It’s unreal. I hate them with a passion.