Chicago Tribune (Comcast P2P)

Chicago Tribune (Comcast P2P)

Comcast to appeal FCC Web traffic ruling


WASHINGTON – Comcast Corp. is appealing an FCC ruling that the company is improperly blocking customers’ Web traffic, triggering a legal battle that could determine the extent of the government’s authority to regulate the Internet.

In a precedent-setting move, a divided Federal Communications Commission last month determined that Comcast is violating a federal policy that guarantees unfettered access to the Internet. Comcast challenged the decision Thursday in the U.S. District Court of Appeals in Washington.

David L. Cohen, Comcast executive vice president, said the company is seeking “review and reversal” of the FCC order and that the commission’s action was “legally inappropriate and its findings were not justified.”

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said he was disappointed by Comcast’s decision to appeal.

The Comcast case arose from complaints by users of a type of “file-sharing” software used to download large data files, usually video.

The FCC noted that the company’s practices “have significantly impeded Internet users’ ability to use applications and access content of their choice.”

The agency also noted that the type of traffic Comcast is blocking has become “a competitive threat” to cable operators because it is used by people to view high-quality video that they “might otherwise watch (and pay for) on cable television.”

Note: Attorney Thomas Zimmerman filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of the plaintiff’s class against Comcast arising out of Comcast’s restricting its customers’ P2P service.

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