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Comcast Says FCC Powerless to Stop P2P Blocking 377

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the impotence-is-a-troubling-issue dept.
Nanoboy writes "Even if the FCC finds that Comcast has violated its Internet Policy Statement, it's utterly powerless to do anything about it, according to a recent filing by the cable giant. Comcast argues that Congress has not given the FCC the authority to act, that the Internet Policy Statement doesn't give it the right to deal with the issue, and that any FCC action would violate the Administrative Procedures Act of 1946. '"The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful," concludes Comcast VP David L. Cohen's thinly-veiled warning to the FCC, filed on March 11. "Bearing these facts in mind should obviate the need for the Commission to test its legal authority."'"
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Comcast Says FCC Powerless to Stop P2P Blocking

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  • Comcast (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ancient123 (724901) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:20AM (#22796576)
    Damn corporations always find a lookhole to continue exploiting their customers.... (fp?)
    • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Doctor_Jest (688315) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:27AM (#22796662)
      Well, this loophole they seem to crow about (which is horse feathers to me, since the FCC has regulatory authority when it comes to denial of services by a communications provider... phone or otherwise...) is most likely trumped by the recently passed Internet Security Fun and Excitement Act (I forgot the name off the top of my head) that makes this fakery they're doing, impersonating _you_ (your machine, specifically) illegal and possibly a felony. As I understand it from the other discussions on this subject... Comcast's guilty of "hacking".... ;) For lack of a better term, legal-wise.

      So, no, the FCC may not have the power to stop Comcast (but I suspect they can levy a fine, but that's another discussion entirely), but I'd suspect the FBI does... and someone might do time for it. ;) ...I know... wishful thinking...
      • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Interesting)

        by electrictroy (912290) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:36AM (#22796792)
        SUCH ARROGANCE BY COMCAST!

        In a different age and under a different president (Jimmy Carter), the FCC chairman could simply pick up his phone & ask his buddy in the white house to apply Antitrust Legislation to the Comcast monopoly..... thereby breaking apart the cable tv and internet arms into competing forces..... as was done with AT&T.

        Who knows. Perhaps the next president will do exactly that.

        • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Insightful)

          by AmaDaden (794446) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:43AM (#22796914)
          Correct me if I'm wrong but could this work? 1)Start new ISP that does not filter 2)Get help from the FCC because they are a bit pissed at Comcast for their "nah nah nah You cant get us!" crap 3)When Comcast tries to buy you out/stomp you in to oblivion use antitrust laws to stay alive. 4)Grow to a reasonable size because you have some idea of how the internet works and will not be a dick to your customers. 5)???? 6)profit
          • Re:Comcast (Score:4, Insightful)

            by liquidpele (663430) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:47AM (#22796974) Journal
            Right. If you get the $5+ Billion needed to run cable to homes all over Comcast's area nationwide, I'll get the backbone connection and the routers, and we'll be in business. AT&T and Comcast were regulated because they were monopolies due to their infrastructure. Now they compete in this one area, which is good, but more competition is still needed in my opinion.
            • by AmaDaden (794446)
              Hey I never said it would be easy, just that it could work. With any luck Google will get the same idea and act on it.
              • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

                by Teflon_Jeff (1221290)
                We can only dream.

                If I were Comcast, I'd be a little more careful, because the government tends to not give a crap what you, as a business, think. And I'd bet there are plenty of other laws out there that they broke.

                Besides, if they admit they broke their own rules, wouldn't that open them up to a class action lawsuit?
                • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Fatal67 (244371) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:31PM (#22797526)
                  If I were comcast, I would just completely block P2P uploading as it violates the TOS. Not a popular answer I know, but my terms do say that I cannot run a server on my residential connection. P2P seeding should qualify as a file server. Comcast made the mistake of letting customers do something that was against the TOS for far too long. Not that there is a time limit on enforcing TOS, but it is always harder to give someone something and then take it away than it is to not give them something to begin with.

                  • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Insightful)

                    by Shakrai (717556) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @01:13PM (#22798042) Journal

                    If I were comcast, I would just completely block P2P uploading as it violates the TOS. Not a popular answer I know, but my terms do say that I cannot run a server on my residential connection. P2P seeding should qualify as a file server

                    Actually, it's only a server (in the classical sense) if it accepts incoming connections and most P2P apps (Bittorrent included) will function just fine without this ability, albeit with a reduced number of peers that it can reach.

              • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Interesting)

                by electrictroy (912290) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:30PM (#22797510)
                I doubt that my local government (Lancaster PA) would allow me to set-up a second cable company. They've already made up their minds to only string ONE cable to the city homes, and therefore a new startup is blocked from entry.

                It's a regulated monopoly.

                And being a monopoly, Comcast can do whatever they want (like block access to Itunes) as long as Comcast keeps bribing the Lancaster politicians to keep quiet.

                • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Interesting)

                  by Lumpy (12016) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @01:45PM (#22798380) Homepage
                  This bribe is called a "franchise fee" it allows the local government to take a substantial kickback from a cable company to ensure they are the only game in town. The locality must drop the franchise fee if there are two companies in town so they generally want to keep that steady bribe coming in they make sure that competition can not come in without a larger bag of money.

                  Gotta love how local government find ways of doing what the Mob has done forever.
            • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Interesting)

              by plague3106 (71849) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:59AM (#22797106)
              This is exactly why all communications lines must be seized as property of the public. We have public roads, public water, public electricity, and it's time we have public ownership of data lines.

              I'm glad my city decided it wouldn't wait for Comcast or Verizon, and instead went and laid their own fiber network. Guess who has the best internet, phone and cable TV prices and service now?
              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Toandeaf (1014715)
                I for one like private companies owning the lines as it is one more barrier to improper spying by the government. Well, in theory anyway. We should be seeing whether this is true or not next presidency.
                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  by MobyDisk (75490)
                  The problem has nothing to do with who owns the lines. The problem is that the government grants the owner of the lines a monopoly to deliver content over them. This would not be an issue if Comcast owned and maintained the lines, and Earthlink/Covad/First Communications/AOL competed to provide ISP services over those lines.
                • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by phizix (1143711) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:31PM (#22797516)

                  I for one like private companies owning the lines as it is one more barrier to improper spying by the government.
                  Especially companies like AT&T...
                • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Mr2001 (90979) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @06:52PM (#22801798) Homepage Journal

                  I for one like private companies owning the lines as it is one more barrier to improper spying by the government.
                  It could be exactly the opposite. Remember, the Fourth Amendment only restricts the government, not private companies. The government can, and has, asked private companies to do the kind of snooping that the government itself is forbidden to do.
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by GlL (618007)
                I, too live in Tacoma, WA. I can get a 1.5MB internet connection for $29.95 including taxes,etc. and I can walk into the LOCALLY OWNED ISP's office and talk to real techs. The city laid the cable and maintains it, and wholesales it to three ISPs who compete on pricing and supporting end users.
                Scumcast and Qworst have been trying unsuccessfully to sink this venture, but so far our politicians haven't sold us out.
                Personally I think Comcast should be broken up like the bells were. The more competition there is
          • You know what's going to happen though after step 6?
            The new company will turn evil and become just as bad as the company it usurped.
            The cycle of life continues...
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            1)Start new ISP that does not filter

            1a) Since you don't own all the fiber in between most computers, still send the data over Comcast or ATT backbone lines, and have filtering applied above you.

      • Re:Comcast (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sm62704 (957197) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:44PM (#22797678) Journal
        someone might do time for it

        Dream on. In America a rich powerful man only goes to prison if a richer, more powerful man wants him there. The rule of law is worthless when legislators are bought and sold like cattle.

        For instance, how many Sony executives went to prison for the XCP rootkit? [wikipedia.org] That's right, none. Nobody from Comcast will serve time either, and if they donated enough money to the campaigns of the "elected" officials and legislators they'll continue to be able to abuse their customers.

        And now for something completely [uncyclopedia.org] different: [uncyclopedia.org]

        -mcgrew
  • Anyone willing to act as a translator for the law-speak impaired?
    • by sconeu (64226) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:25AM (#22796640) Homepage Journal
      IANAL, but...

      Comcast: "The FCC can bite my shiny metal ass. Nyah, nyah, nyah!!!!"
      • by jollyreaper (513215) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:42AM (#22796902)
        Hah. My favorite version of that line.

        [someone slips and falls]

        me: Is there a lawyer in the house?

        lawyer: [stands up, raises hand] Here, good sir!

        me: *BANG!*

        lawyer: Gah! [drops dead]

        me: Now do we have anyone from marketing?
      • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by _KiTA_ (241027)

        Comcast: "The FCC can bite my shiny metal ass. Nyah, nyah, nyah!!!!"


        Yeah, is it just me, or did Comcast just dare the FCC to just TRY and stop them?

        If they weren't ran by clueless Bush appointees I'd wager this would piss some people off. Now they'll probably just send a nasty memo to Comcast's CEO to remind his peons to be more discreet.
    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:29AM (#22796682)
      Comcast: "Hey, FCC, I know that you're generally not wanting to regulate us cable companies, so why not just let us go?"

      FCC: "Hmm, any chance of backing that up with a law somewhere?"

      Comcast: "How about this one? Just say we're being regulated by 'market forces'."

      FCC: "But you're a regulated monopoly! That'll never fly!"

      Comcast: "Weren't you going to run for office? Here's a 'donation' to your 'exploratory committee'."

      FCC: "Sounds good. The free market wins again!"
    • . . . "Stay out of our way and nobody gets hurt."
    • by explosivejared (1186049) <hagan.jared@g m a i l .com> on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:31AM (#22796706)
      I'm no lawyer, but here's the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] on the act in question. Seems to me new ground is being tread here, so I'm not sure how a court would rule. However, such hubris can't make things easier on Comcast. They'd have to be pretty sure to call out the FCC like this. I personally hope Comcast is wrong, but that is another matter.
    • by CubeRootOf (849787) <michael_labrecque@student.uml.edu> on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:33AM (#22796736)
      The FCC has no standing to police what comcast does or does not do to its customers because congress has not given the FCC that power.

      Additionally, sometime during President Truman's last term, a statement was issued that essentially said 'We are not communists! See - we like the free market, and we will regulate as little as possible', which WAS approved by congress, and is currently active.

      Comcast is essentially telling the FCC to not bother, as whatever finding they come to, Comcast will believe it illigit and not comply unless congress gets involved and changes the laws, or issues a new guidance.

      Essentially - this is big political news, and if this goes forward we can expect to see a new set of good laws ( or bad) coming out of congress to address issues like this.

      My bet? Be prepared for congress to give the go head to throttle down P2P as a public service.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by alexhard (778254)
        But that's complete bullshit, Comcast has been granted monopolies in the cable market, so they HAVE meddled with the free market (damn communists!). Government meddling is the reason that this problem even exists.
  • Call the *AA? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lucan Varo (974578) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:22AM (#22796594)
    The Federal Communications Commission has made clear, Cohen writes, that cable service is not a common carrier and therefore is not subject to common carrier guidelines.

    So that means they're responsible for what passes over their lines, right? Gonna be interesting.
    • to cover their ass because they are not a common carrier.
      • So if the FCC says they're a common carrier, that'll remove their motivation for blocking in the first place? I doubt that's the main reason for their blocking, and I also think they're shooting themselves in the foot with this defense. "Common Carrier" is a title most internet companies should be striving for.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mabhatter654 (561290)
        common carrier is different than open access. Comcast can be a closed network to outside companies, but a common carrier to their customers. The FCC has said they don't have to share lines, but Common Carrier status is determined differently. Although port blocking VIOP and such probably disqualifies them.

        The way to fix this is a lawsuit from somebody sued by the RIAA that Comcast should have blocked them from doing bad things (not a common carrier) and/or Comcast should be preventing Media Sentry from t
    • Re:Call the *AA? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:34AM (#22796766)

      The Federal Communications Commission has made clear, Cohen writes, that cable service is not a common carrier and therefore is not subject to common carrier guidelines.

      So that means they're responsible for what passes over their lines, right? Gonna be interesting.
      No, it doesn't. As has been discussed here on /. before there is a law that specifically exempts ISP's from being legally responsible for what passes over their lines. However, by choosing to block certain traffic, Comcast may be voluntarily giving up that exemption (the law in question exempts ISP's that do not regulate the content that they transmit, once they start regulating what content they transmit ,at some point they stop qualifying for the exemption. Exactly what constitutes losing the exemption has yet to be ruled by a court).
    • by isaac (2852)
      No. ISP immunity for subscriber traffic/content comes from Section 230 CDA (yep, that CDA) and the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA. ISPs don't need or want common carrier status.

      -Isaac
  • yea right (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:23AM (#22796606)
    First of all, Comcast doesn't decide how to interpret the laws. Judges do.

    Second of all, the FCC has been using powers that they weren't directly given (given through court cases that interpreted the laws as giving them such authority) for years, what makes Comcast think this will change for them?
  • So Comcast is basically saying "Even if we're breaking rules you can't do anything about it"?

    I can imagine a Comcast rep at an FCC meeting doing a Nelson-esque "HA-HA!"...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MozeeToby (1163751)
      Let's see, according to the law, corporations are people, right? Do you think we could have comcast declared mentally incompetent?
  • for the proverbial bitch-slap that will follow this from the FCC and customers. If this does in fact get a counter-suit from Comcast, the Supreme Court may end up deciding what to do on this matter, in another 5 years. In the meantime let's see if Congress can grow a pair and implement some net neutrality to topple this "network management."
  • by nweaver (113078) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:28AM (#22796674) Homepage
    Now, I sympathize with Comcast. Many ISPs, not just Comcast, are disrupting P2P sessions, and these sessions are in clear violation of most ISP's Terms of Service. And P2P is horribly disruptive, a single user can easily transmit 20 GB of data in a day.

    Yet Comcast seems intent on making people WANT to regulate them. Its like they are deliberately behaving stupid?

    They aren't agressive at pointing out all the other ISPs, to get the heat off.

    They do stupid things like pack FCC hearing, say that the results won't matter, etc.

    Who's running that place?
    • by bitbiter (632065) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:43AM (#22796918)
      They aren't stupid. This is the Standard MO of most US companies. Screw the customer, till you get caught and then say opps and pay a little fine.

      Don't you know by now that most companies in the US sit down and think this out. "Lets see, we can make this much money (A) while screwing the customer. It will take this long (B) to get caught. We will make this much (C = (A X B)). When we get caught it will cost us this much (D) in legal fees and fines. So if C > D then it's what they do."

      This is not going to change anytime soon. When the punishments never add up even close to what they make.
      Welcome to the Corporate United States Of America.
      • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:04PM (#22797164)

        This is the Standard MO of most US companies.
        No, this is the standard MO of companies (or any entity) which grows to monopoly-size. Competition brings out the best in companies, because one can simply switch to a competitor if the service gets too bad. The capitalist approach typically falters when:

        a) The government sticks its nose in and creates or sanctions a monopoly
        b) The government doesn't stick its nose in to break up an illegal monopoly
        c) It's the government itself that's providing the service.
        d) The company gets too big to care about customers anymore, and implode under the weight of their own bureaucracy.

        From companies that have to compete fiercely for my business, I tend to get great service. Abusive and underhanded practices won't keep a company going long, because the negative PR will eventually drive other customers away. It's simple Darwinism - those that don't just don't survive long. Capitalism may not always be pretty, but it sure beats the living hell out of any other system the human race has tried thus far.
         
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by asterix404 (1240192)
      Comcast doesn't put an upload/download limit in their terms of service, you are paying for a service. What happens if you want to download 5 linux distros to try them out? They already cap bandwidth so that you don't ever get the 4mbps that you are "promised" I get 750KB/s download and 125KB/s upload, called them up and asked why and basically got the runaround with an answer eventually saying on because we can. The the FCC can't get them then the better business bureau may be able to for breaking a contrac
      • by j79zlr (930600) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:52AM (#22797040) Homepage

        the 4mbps that you are "promised" I get 750KB/s download and 125KB/s upload
        750 kB/s == 6 mbps. So you are getting more than you promised, will you be sending Comcast a thank you card?
      • by GweeDo (127172) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:55AM (#22797074) Homepage
        "so that you don't ever get the 4mbps that you are "promised" I get 750KB/s download and 125KB/s upload"

        You do know that 750KBps is 5.859375 Mbps right?
        • by poetmatt (793785)
          The lowest Tier of comcast internet provided is 6mpbs, they do indeed cap at 750KB/s. The amount you mentioned is indeed correct, and the response the GP got is what is typical of comcast.

          The issue at hand is whether they lose Section 230 immunity if they are filtering connections like this. And I hope to damn that they are, because if they aren't I'm going to have to convince whoever controls the infrastructure in my area to build up something other than comcast every single time.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Deagol (323173)
        I've had several dealings with stubborn local utilities. Most states have a Public Utilities Commission (or PUC), which regulate such entities at the state level. Every single time I've been blown off by a gas or phone company and I've lodged a complaint with the PUC, I get an almost immediate response (as in hours the same day, usually). I don't always get the issue resolved (such as the company not technically violating anything, just being asshats), *but* at least some some manager at the company is f
      • by bensode (203634) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:28PM (#22797488)
        Let me be the first to say F*CK Comcast. I moved to southern PA recently only to get gouged with a $70 monthly internet bill. I don't have the option to switch to DSL/FIOS so my only other option is dial-up. No thank you. It's funny my neighbors (a lot of them) have a $24.99 monthly Comcast bill. The local ISP just before I moved in (SusCom) was bought out by Comcast http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6279636.html [multichannel.com] and they get grandfathered into the same price. Any "new" service REQUIRES cable TV + $50 a month internet, totaling $70 a month. I'm an avid DirectTV subscriber because the Comcast cable tv service is absolutely terrible here. So I have to pay for cable tv, internet and DirectTV.

        You know what Comcast told me when I complained about the price, lack of options and their crappy service? "Move". Isn't that wonderful customer service ...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by nitehawk214 (222219)
          Welcome to the neighborhood. This has been Comcast's MO since they inherited the system from AT&T, who operated it exactly the same way. AT&T expanded the original cable internet system from TCI when they bought it. They promised that prices would go down as subscribers went up, but the opposite has been true for the last decade. Comcast has certainly raised the bar for screwing their customers, and they know they have them by the balls as most of the areas do not have the option of DSL or FIOS. I p
    • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:46AM (#22796958)
      "a single user can easily transmit 20 GB of data in a day."

      Only if he is freely provided with the bandwidth promised by the ISP. Now are you saying he should not be able to use this bandwidth? There are plenty of legal uses for P2P so your sweeping statements just come across as ridiculous and ignorant.

      The problem is simple: the company has made bandwidth promises to more people than it can handle on its lines. This is analogous to an airline promising everyone a seat on a plane in exchange for X dollars, but then when everyone who was promised a seat actually shows up for the flight (*gasp*), the airline kicks off the fat people, and tells everyone else to share seats. Now at this point any reasonable person would demand a refund and go to another airline. The problem in this situation is that there is no other airline. Your only option is to pick up and move to another location. Ask the government how this situation came about.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by electrictroy (912290)
      What the hell are you talking about??? There's nothing disruptive or illegal about P2P software. How do you think Linux distributions get sent? Just last week, I downloaded the latest version of Firefox using P2P. (And the month before, Spybot, because the virus that had infected my system was blocking all browser downloads. P2P was the only way to get Spybot and fix the problem.)

      Don't sit there and make false accusations that P2P Software does not have any legitimate use or is "disruptive".

      P2P is a to
    • Yet Comcast seems intent on making people WANT to regulate them. Its like they are deliberately behaving stupid?

      I was thinking the same thing. It's almost as if they are unaware of what has been going on in the world of late. With the sub-prime market completely off the rails, major investment banks failing, etc., is this really the time to be spitting in the face of government? My sense is that you couldn't pick a worse time to be arguing against regulations and trotting out variations of the "free

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:00PM (#22797126) Journal

      And P2P is horribly disruptive, a single user can easily transmit 20 GB of data in a day.
      Sure, if they max out 2Mbps of upload bandwidth for 24 hours straight.
      What *Comcast/Verizon/AT&T connection do you have that does a steady 2Mbps up?

      Last I checked, non-business connections were either 384 kbps or 768 kbps, which is about 4GB & 8GB per day respectively. I limit this discussion to Comcast/Verizon/AT&T because those are usually the only options for the vast majority of people in the USA.

      So who are these non-business/non-FIOS users transmitting 20 GB per day?

      http://www.google.com/search?q=20+GB+per+day+in+Kbps [google.com]
      http://www.google.com/search?q=384+kbps+in+GB+per+day [google.com]
      http://www.google.com/search?q=768+kbps+in+GB+per+day [google.com]

      *non-business & non-fiber since comcast can't exactly blame fiber users for running up their bandwidth bill.
    • because they WANT regulation.. the kind they can write themselves, like all good monopolies. They'll write the regulations that they have to do lots of tracking and logging and preventing people from services... in exchange they'll get explicit permission to block WHATEVER they want to "new emerging threats" to copyright... or their business model. Everything out side of port 80 will be blocked unless you pay for a Game plan or a VPN plan or a iTunes Plan... wait for it!
  • by mgkimsal2 (200677) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:31AM (#22796716) Homepage
    Isn't this the same Comcast which runs cable service in markets which usually has a local government-granted monopoly for cable service in those regions? Funny that now they want to say "let the market decide" when cable companies generally won't invest in the infrastructure unless granted a monopoly on providing cable service. I'm remembering back a long time - perhaps this isn't the case any more. If broadband options were available everywhere, I'd certainly say "let the market decide" - many people (myself included) only have one option for broadband, and it's often cable.
  • In other news... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by sweatyboatman (457800) <(sweatyboatman) (at) (hotmail.com)> on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:32AM (#22796720) Homepage Journal
    ...Car thieves have declared the police have no legal authority to prevent them from stealing cars.

    Good luck with that.

    I don't really understand what Comcast hopes to get out of such an "above the law" argument. It's just bound to piss off the FCC regulators even more and make them more committed to enforcing whatever decision they make against Comcast. Just to show all the other cable companies and telcos that they aren't to be messed with.
    • Tin foil hat time? Perhaps Comcast needs to be above the law/FCC in this case in order to take the money from the **AA next year when they begin implementing the **AA's recommended network practices for ISPs. If it is against the law, the **AA won't pay them, well at least not honestly.
  • What bullshit (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Coopjust (872796) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:33AM (#22796738)
    I honestly can't believe the amount of crap coming from Comcast.

    The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful,"


    Yeah, right. Which is why US broadband penetration continues to rank lower and lower worldwide despite $200 Billion from the government. And people are protesting traffic filtering. And your company is so afraid of actual people sitting at an FCC public hearing that they pay people to hold seats for employees, busing the employees in, and locking the public out from the meeting.

    What Comcast is doing with the sandvine filtering is forging packets. That's fraud.
    • by nuzak (959558)
      > Which is why US broadband penetration continues to rank lower and lower worldwide despite $200 Billion from the government.

      200 billion is a massive chunk of change, higher than the infrastructure investment of any other industrialized country. What's the law that authorized it, and where's it actually going? I'd like to follow that money and see if there's perhaps a few people who belong in the clink for misappropriating it.
  • Challenge (Score:5, Interesting)

    by whisper_jeff (680366) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:34AM (#22796754)
    That sounds like a challenge to me. I'll be interested to see if the FCC accepts the challenge and shows Comcast that it's the government, not corporations that run things, despite what many (including Comcast, obviously) may think.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gabrieltss (64078)
      Unfortunately corporations DO run the government not the other way around. It's caleld Lobbiests, payoffs, bribes and the like. If a corporation wants something they just write a check and they get a law in their favor, a favorable ruling in court battle etc.. It's the facts.
  • by techpawn (969834) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:39AM (#22796830) Journal

    Comcast argues that Congress has not given the FCC the authority to act...
    Then who gave the FCC authority in the first place to do anything?

    Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a United States government agency, created, directed, and empowered by Congressional statute (see 47 U.S.C. 151 and 47 U.S.C. 154), and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current president.
    The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 as the successor to the Federal Radio Commission and is charged with regulating all non-Federal Government use of the radio spectrum (including radio and television broadcasting), and all interstate telecommunications (wire, satellite and cable) as well as all international communications that originate or terminate in the United States.
    So it was congress who gave them the authority to act and then took it away with another act?
  • Competition (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:40AM (#22796850)

    "The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful,"

    Comcast's "marketplace" justification doesn't work. Their implication is that having a market means you have competition. But Comcast has a licensed monopoly on the cable network, and some telephone company has a monopoly on the telephone network. That's a market with, at the very most, one competitor.

  • I Agree With Comcast (Score:5, Informative)

    by superid (46543) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:42AM (#22796904) Homepage
    "The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful," - Cohen

    I agree completely and will move my "customer experience" from Comcast to Verizon FioS ASAP.
    • by Bryansix (761547) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:45AM (#22796944) Homepage
      Now if only FiOS was available in my area.
    • by rusty0101 (565565) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:18PM (#22797336) Homepage Journal
      I would note that it is up to the FCC to determine if Internet service over Cable is a mature technology to the point that it should be opened to providers other than the company that owns the cable plant. If the FCC decides that it is, then Comcast, Time Warner, and other cable companies will be required to open their plant to third party internet service providers, just as Qwest, Verizon and AT&T do for DSL service.

      Comcast's monopoly techniques and customer complaints to the FCC are likely to result in a review of their decision a few years back that allowed them to get to the position they are in at this time. I tend to suspect that there is a significant percentage of the Comcast subscriber base who would consider an ISP connection cost of $20 a month across their cable plant to be a significant improvement over the current $100+ a month fees. (Sure Internet service is only a $50 part of that bill, unless you decide not to have cable TV service in which case it becomes a $75 a month charge.)

      I.e. there's a 250% mark up compared to DSL with possibly double the bandwidth potentially available, and the opportunity to have your P2P sessions interfered with.

      A reminder, the reason Comcast has been interfering with P2P sessions is that they have not built the capacity in their plant to handle the volume of customer traffic. They may be really happy to announce that they are now looking at rolling out DOCIS 3 with it's 100 meg to the customer bandwidth, but it appears they have not built the backbone to allow customers to make use of it. Lots of luck there.
  • by bishiraver (707931) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:55AM (#22797072) Homepage
    They gave up their rights to rely on the marketplace when they signed on to government-endorsed monopoly status.

    I would have absolutely NO qualms about allowing the marketplace to sort this out - unfortunately, the marketplace is artificially sparse.

    If a power company with government-mandated monopoly was blocking power to your electric oven because it sucked down too much juice and you ran it all the time, the government would get involved.

    If an internet company with government-mandated monopoly blocks bits to a piece of software because it uses too much bandwidth, the regluatory body (FCC) should get involved.

    That's how it should work. If you want the government to keep you in power, you gotta make sure your services don't fuck people over. If you don't like it, have fun competing and - well - making consumers happy by striving to have the best and least expensive service. Common fucking sense. Unfortunately there's nothing common about it..

    (For those of you who don't think this is an enforced monopoly - Right now I only have one choice for broadband - optimum. Time warner services buildings two blocks from me, but I'm in a different district in brooklyn and TW is legally restricted from servicing the area -- because it's optimum's area.)
  • by HermMunster (972336) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @11:56AM (#22797076)
    Comcast may think they have the right to do what they are doing but this is all bad publicity. That though is the normalized side of things. They'll loose lots of business.

    What Comcast may not be understanding is that shitting on the FCC now means the FCC will shit on them later. Guaranteed. Comcast is burning bridges.

    They need to disassociate their activities completely with any blocking and open the network and become neutral. What the FCC will probably do is give everyone the right to sue Comcast over what the consumer does on line. Essentially they are removing their own neutrality.

    Comcast is far to simplistic in their thinking and dangerous in their actions.
  • What marketplace? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by porcupine8 (816071) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:02PM (#22797138) Journal
    When at least 50% of households in the US have more than one cable company to choose from, then maybe we can let the marketplace decide. Because then there will BE a marketplace.

    You can't have your cake and eat it too, Comcast. Either you get a government-sanctioned monopoly OR you get to "let the market decide" whether you're doing things that hurt consumers.

  • ftc? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by f1055man (951955) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:10PM (#22797230)
    They've been forging packets. If the FCC can't do anything can the Federal Trade Commission step in? If I was Comcast I'd definitely prefer the FCC to the FTC.
  • I can see/hear it now...

    "Comcast claims they have the fastest broadband speeds in the country. What good is that, when *THEY* decide what they will let you connect it to?"

    "Want to grab the latest official game patch on BitTorrent? Sorry, Comcast is blocking it."

    "There's a new Linux distro that just got released - but Comcast says you're not allowed to download it via P2P."

    "What's next? No, you can't go to YouTube, but you can get the same content at comcastcrappyonlinevideos.com?"

    "Try cutting the cable, and
    • by scubamage (727538)
      Not to mention that games like World of Warcraft push all patches/updates via bittorrent.
  • "The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful," concludes Cohen's thinly-veiled warning to the FCC, filed on March 11. "Bearing these facts in mind should obviate the need for the Commission to test its legal authority."

    Then the FCC should test it's other legal authority, that by which it can remove Comcast's Common Carrier s

  • by MikeURL (890801) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:17PM (#22797318) Journal
    ...Comcast will be arguing that the IRS has no power to promulgate regulations regarding taxation.

    That will put digg users on the side of Comcast and the world will promptly explode.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:21PM (#22797384) Homepage
    True, false, whatever. The market is entirely capable of fixing this problem.

    Here's the solution: Common carrier. There, problem solved.

    All you have to do is say, "If you route every packet on your network the same regardless of origin, destination, or content, you are a common carrier, and you are not liable for what those packets constitute. If you treat anything flowing over your network preferentially, you are not a common carrier, and you are liable for the content of ever packet that travels on your network." Simple. Nobody is going to put their company in the path of child pornography enforcement. All this talk of extra legislation for net neutrality is completely unnecessary. The common carrier laws are already in place, the only remaining step is to clarify that they apply to data as well as voice.

    I love the idea of net neutrality, but I am convinced we don't need an extra law to make it happen. Just enforce common carrier.

    Am I missing something here?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by qeveren (318805)
      Common carrier status doesn't apply to them, already. People above have already commented on this.
  • by John Sokol (109591) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @12:35PM (#22797578) Homepage Journal
    Is there any reason the virus's and worms can get through the P2P can't?

      Bit Torrent is already showing it's age.

      I would like to get some team together to create on based on erasure codes, ECIP http://www.ecip.com/ [ecip.com]
      or LT Code, the Luby Transform (Michael Luby), Fountain Codes (from Digital Fountain), network codes, Tornado codes, Online Codes, and Raptor codes.

      In addition the P2P engine should morph and change it's communications similar to stealth viruses do.
      So no static filtering scheme could work.

      And it should also detect networks that attempt to block them and immediately launch a DOS attack against the router and infrastructure that attempts to block them. Let's not call is DOS attack, but basically by attempting to slow or stop P2P transfers to conserver bandwidth the system just starts to pour on the traffic even higher.

      back in 1996 to 1999 Aryeh Friedman and myself worked on what we called Rude protocols, SPAC.
      the basic idea was to provide a guaranteed data throughput on the receiver side without any regard to how much it had to send on the sending side.

    This is critical for fix rate video transmission if you are to get good quality and is a very different approach to the QOS RSVP where your begging ISP's to allow your traffic to have a higher priority. We just Take it very rudely.

      In 1997 we did a broadcast with Sir Arthur C. Clarke (who died yesterday) from Sri Lanka to the US.
      It was over the Island of Sri lanka's only internet connection and 64K line that had 90% packet loss.
      By pushing out almost 1 Mbps at the 64K like we were able to get a clean 60Kbps at the receive side for a live streaming video event! We had permission from the country's ISP at that time since the event lasted only for 1 hour.
    http://www.livecamserver.com/ [livecamserver.com] and http://www.dnull.com/~sokol/clarke.html [dnull.com]

      But during ours test in So Cal, we were on a Dual T3 Circuit that went into Mae West, Large data interchange, pushing 10Mbps video and the network had some small outage and we pummeled the entire California internet down to an almost complete outage, 1997. this only lasted for maybe 10 minutes or so as almost every network Backbone admin was scrambled to try to stem the 100Mbps flood of UDP packets that our protocol started to push down the line.
      We took a lot of flack for that out, lost our Co-Lo at that location.

        Anyhow since that time we just added some cap's on the maximum.

      Point being, that any deliberate attempts to stem the flow would in a sense create back pressure, that would only force an increase of the data being sent, and so creating network blockages would have the opposite of the desired effect by costing them even more bandwidth instead of saving it.

      Wouldn't that be a fun thing ;)

     
  • by Doug52392 (1094585) on Wednesday March 19, 2008 @02:08PM (#22798618)
    What idiots, Comcast are so desperate to save their own dumb asses from a federal investigation that they rely on a law passed in 1946! They didn't even have computers back then (besides the ones that take up a whole building and have as much memory as my cell phone), let alone the Internet!

    When they passed that act, I'm sure they could have never guessed we would have the Internet, let alone guess that corporations would be sooo evil like they are now that they would use censorship and dirty politics to violate our civil liberties...

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