The FCC has opened a pair of rule-making proceedings over network management against cable giant Comcast. It was discovered that Comcast occasionally blocks traffic from sites like BitTorrent and others. Comcast says that it is “shaping” network traffic, not targeting any particular type of traffic.

From Ars Technica:

The FCC’s Wireline Competition Bureau is looking for comment on a petition seeking a declaratory ruling that “the practice by broadband service providers of degrading peer-to-peer traffic violates the FCC’s Internet Policy Statement” and that such practices fall outside of what the FCC calls “reasonable network management.”

The second proceeding is intended to determine what, exactly, constitutes reasonable network management by ISPs. The petitioner, Vuze, Inc., wants the FCC to rule that such management prohibits broadband providers from blocking, degrading, or “unreasonably” discriminating against “lawful Internet applications, content, or technologies.”

The FCC is accepting comments from the public. You can use the FCC Electronic Comment Filing System referencing WC Docket number 07-52. The deadline to file feedback is Feb. 13, 2008, and replies are due on Feb. 28, 2008.

The FCC’s 2005 Internet Policy Statement says that while an ISP can “manage” network traffic, a subscriber is allowed to access legal content as well as use applications and services of their choice. What do you think? Should ISPs be allowed to manage traffic by blocking or throttling certain sites, or should there be a rule in place that prevents this?

Additional information:

FCC Asks Comcast About Internet Filter (The Associated Press)

Comcast gets US FCC notice on blocking Web traffic (Reuters)

Update: FCC Asks Comcast for P2P Answers (PC Magazine)


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