back to article FCC chief wants to throttle Comcast

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is taking aim at Comcast for violating the agency’s guidelines on providing open internet access by blocking P2P traffic across its network and keeping schtum about the policy. The agency is investingating Comcast's torrent-busting activities following a complaint …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Pot calling the kettle black

    "Comcast has already gone on the attack, arguing that the agency has never given any indication of what it means by “reasonable network management”.

    This is the same stace comcast takes when you ask them about download limits.

    Comcast tell you that you are using too much then will not tell you what too much is!

  2. Aodhhan Bronze badge

    Forget throttling

    How about slamming them with a huge fine and implement an independent audit to see if they have other legal or compliance problems.

    Not everyone uses P2P applications to illegally distribute copyrighted material.

  3. Mike Flugennock

    re: Forget Throttling

    Seriously, never mind throttling. Shooting is much quicker.

  4. Ermie Mercer

    re: Pot calling the kettle black

    "the agency has never given any indication of what it means by 'reasonable network management' "

    Neither has Comcast.

  5. Robb Topolski
    Thumb Up

    Comcast abused their power and the trust of Internet users.

    When Comcast bought up large systems to become the largest Cable MSO, it did not buy the Internet. Comcast has no right to change how the Internet works -- not one byte of it.

    How the world-wide Internet works is defined by all of us, through our participation and trust in the Internet Society and the Internet Engineering Task Force. To ensure interoperability and access for all, changes must be carefully deliberated and standardized there. The responsibility of operating the Internet in accordance with those standards is entrusted to companies providing access to it. It's not Comcast's job to change how the Internet works nor can it decide who or what gets preference upon it.

    I haven't seen anything other than the press reports about something to be circulated around the FCC. I am hopeful that when the details are released that it serves to preserve and protect the Internet from those who would abuse their power and change it.

    Robb Topolski

    Hillsboro, Oregon

  6. Abdul Koroma
    Thumb Up

    Time for the FCC to redeem Its Image

    Thumbs up for the FCC on this one!!One could only hope now that the punishment that will be given to Comcast will not make a mockery of things. I believe the FCC should use this case to improve on it sdwindling popularity. Critics have long been vehemently castigating the FCC for siding the big Telcos and not standing up for ordinary users who have been repeatedly abuse by these Telcos. With many critics questioning the usefulness of the FCC and some evn calling for its abolishment, it's time the FCC stand up and be counted: Abolish the FCC!(

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    In other words ...

    "The FCC is not a bland panel of technocrats - politics and lobbying means Martin is not guaranteed to get his way with fellow commissioners."

    Let me fix this obvious error for you:

    "The FCC is like the rest of the Federal government - politics and lobbying means Martin hasn't been bought off, but some of the other commissioners probably are."

  8. kain preacher Silver badge


    Actualy I think what has happened is Martin sees how this would impact his on use of the net. He might of stop to think , wait whats else might they do to me. Or perhaps he has a huge bit torrent server farm :)

  9. Fred Goldstein

    Martin's just pandering to the cameras

    Principles aren't rules; only the latter are legally binding. Nor were the principles adopted via legally-proper rulemaking -- the US has laws about that (the Administrative Procedures Act). And what Comcast did was far less egregious than what other Friends of Kevin do every day, especially compared to what Kevin was setting up his Friends to do. But Kevin hates Comcast and thinks he can play a game. One rule for Us, another "principle" (rule of man, not rule of law) for Them.

    The likely result will be a quick appeal to a federal Court of Appeals, who will probably throw it out, but K-Mart himself is planning to return to North Carolina soon, or perhaps become an ILEC industry lobbyist.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Moving back to States

    I am moving back to the States at the end of this month (from South Africa), and will need to be getting setup with internet & cell phone again, and I am not looking forward to it:

    1. Comcast, screwed me many times, can't even tell you where their trucks are, or whether it will take an hour or a week to get a problem fixed, uses unfair manegment practices, then lies about it, has shody billing and unfair trade practices. To their credit, they have no contracts, and are faster than the competition.

    2. Qwest: crappy DSL, poor customer service, slow speeds, poor realiability, and are partnered with Yahoo! I beleive, breaking the sacred content provider / pipe provider gap which should be enshrined in legislation.

    3. Ricochet Wireless: Cheap, fast, wireless, no contracts, and oh... out of business.

    Hmm... Internet will be a touch choice, lets think about cell phones

    1. Sprint - Piss poor customer service, ditched them because of a billing dispute, and will never go back. Uses proprietary CDMA garaunteed not to work in any country I will be traveling to regularly.

    2. Verizon - Piss poor customer service, lockins, contracts, branded phones, uses proprietary CDMA

    3. TMobile - Completely screwed me over WIFI hotspots, won't even respond to my emails disputing the contract I never signed.

    4. Cingular/AT&T - At least they are GSM, but they also brought you the greatest lock in of all time, the iPhone, where you *buy* your own phone, and are *still* locked in. Not too mention that they are the beast. In the 1980's they made Microsoft of today look competitive.

    Ok, I guess my cell phone choices aren't any better. Who ever knew that things were more free in South Africa. "Land of the free" my fucking arse.

  11. Anonymous Coward

    Rant Pt. 2

    The US is always talking about "old Europe" being inefficient and such, and the government stepping in at the expense of the "free market". What kind of free market is it where consumers have no choice but to be captive to 1 of 2 or 3 equally corrupt content providers? The phones don't even have SIM cards for christs sake. Yes America is more "free" than Europe, in that the corporations have the complete freedom to screw the citizens as long as they bribe the government sufficiently.

  12. Richard Bennett
    Thumb Up

    Dark day for pirates

    The Comcast complaint originated among the video pirates and the resolution isn't going to help them any. They're still going to find their file-sharing activities throttled.

    It's an interesting tack for the FCC to make - rattle the saber and assert authority, but not levy any actual fines or punishments. I suspect it's intended to allow both sides to declare victory.

  13. kain preacher Silver badge


    Ok folks hear is the real reason this is happening. A few months back comcast told the FCC that they could not regulated them over bit torrents. Now a civilian telling a government official what he or sh can not do will piss them off. I suspect that is personal. This is Martins way of saying you cant tell me what my job is or how to do it.

  14. Brandon
    Paris Hilton

    Capitalism still works... but politicians muck it up.

    The only way corporations in the US can screw the citizens by bribing the government is if the company maintains a monopoly on a service. There's no possible way a bread company can fuck me over, when there are 30 different kinds of bread on the shelf for me to choose from... because if one is $5, I just choose the one next to it that is $3. But, when there's only one source of a needed item, like electricity, it's very easy for the corporation to get in bed with the politicians and screw the consumers.

    Capitalism works, both for the consumer and the company, but monopolies and corrupt politicians fight against it for their own gain at the helpless expense of the people.

    Paris, because she knows what the people want... and makes a fortune giving it to them.

  15. Doug Glass
    Black Helicopters

    The Truth, The Whole Truth yada yada yada...

    What pissed off the FCC wasn't that Comcast was throttling, they were proven to be doing that early on. The real irritants were 1.) they denied it and 2.) they later admitted it but called it something else. Purely the old shell game.

    So what will the US of A gov-en-ment do? Well, they'll fine Comcast some amount that will be huge to the common man but will be peanuts to Comcast. And, that kind of loss is considered just a cost of doing business in large corporations and will be factored into their next tax return. To prevent that "tax action" the fine would have to be paid for by the investors, i.e. below the line, and not allowed as a business expense and that wont happen.

    If fined heavily, all Comcast will do is sit tight, watch their profits go down over time because of the fine and then have a legitimate reason to raise rates. Unless that too is disallowed but that wont happen either.

    There ain't no free lunches and the consumer always pays in the end.

  16. heystoopid

    The old old story

    The old old story of all US Govermint Compartments run by the DC Chimp , is to basically threaten loudly and visibly in public with meaningless propaganda , then do absolutely nothing but miniscule token fines , take the extra kickbacks in bribes and ass polishing and boot licking over paid consultant jobs a few years down the track , then go back to sleep again ! For that is what he has been doing well since the mid nineties for then it becomes some other very minor nobody without any power to enforce it properly or effectively do the job in question as it's arms and legs have been fully amputated by that time and it now no longer is his problem as the buck has been passed to the absolute bottom of the feeding chain !

    Oh well fool me four thousand times plus already on a daily basis "Dana Perino Style" , maybe one day I will catch him at the gate without his propaganda ministry and built in oil slick to back him up !

    Let the flames continue , but as always far too little far too late to be effective , forgotten much about continued suffering of all Hurricane Katrina Victims at the hands of FEMA even now to this very day and will for a long time to come have we , where as all those lucky enough to score private free self help group aid continue to recover from the same trauma without the same hindrance !

    A cynic is never truly dissappointed with any US elected and/or appointed administrators , as the predicted outcome of all these crooks and carpet baggers always falls within their predicted range parameter of low expectations of not doing the right thing at any time and we all know that all thieves and charlatans have absolutely no honor at feeding time !

  17. Anonymous Coward

    It's not Throttling. It Is Denial of Service

    They are talking about using the TCP Reset Flag Denial of Service Attack and calling it Traffic Management.

    Setting traffic priority or QOS to ports or IPs is traffic management.

    Saying we will fake a "Fred is not home" answer to any computer trying to connect to Fred's computer, when Fred IS home, is a Denial of Service.

    What the TCP Reset flag attack does is similar to this. You phone someone. You hear a busy signal, but their phone is ringing. You hang up before the other end can answer.

    I don't do torrents or peer to peer. I do use various network management tools on non-standard ports. I have been affected by this type of interference. Comcast is not the only one doing this, as they were not in the path causing the problem for me. This practice needs to be stopped. Utilities should not be adversarial to their clients.

  18. Andus McCoatover

    @ Brent Gardner

    "Proprietary CDMA"??? WTF is that??

    No such animal could exist, see - it's a fuc*king standard. ;-)

    Yes, I feel your pain. Sad to go back to US. Bloody place.

  19. Dave Bell

    At least the FCC is publicising the lies

    Can you imagine Ofcom going after Tiscali for doing much the same. (NNTP dies most evenings.)

    Plus the overselling of capacity in those silly TV adverts.

    Personally, I'm not greatly bothered by a slow download, as long as it keeps chugging along. But I would like to know which month my Ubuntu distro is likely to finish downloading.

  20. Phil Koenig
    Thumb Down

    Martin's faux "enforcement" is one-sided anyway

    Martin's FCC never seems to find any time to tap the big telcos (ie ATT, Verizon) on the wrist in any way, but keeps finding excuses to go after the cable companies.

    I'm no fan of Comcast by any means, but trying to assert that this sort of nonsense actually amounts to doing broadband users any real favors is laughable. The next lovely action by the FCC will be to give their blessing to the Sirius/XM merger, which is about as "pro-competitive" as pork fat is health-food.

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