FCC expected to rule against Comcast Aug. 1

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to announce Aug. 1 that Comcast's network shaping of BitTorrent was wrong.

The Federal Communications Commission is expected to announce Aug. 1 that Comcast's network shaping of BitTorrent was wrong.

According to the Wall Street Journal, regulators are expected to rule that Comcast violated policy by hampering BitTorrent sharing. The FCC has been dropping hints for weeks that Comcast would face an adverse decision. The Journal also notes that the FCC decision will also be challenged in court. The backstory: Comcast in the name of saving its bandwidth put the kibosh on BitTorrent traffic. Since that initial spat, BitTorrent and Comcast have become chums. Comcast has also said it network management practices won't hamper Vonage either.

If the FCC rules as expected and the ruling is challenged we'll get a real court examination of network neutrality issues. Right now, network neutrality--the concept that all Internet traffic is created equal--is a bit academic. The FCC is for network neutrality to a degree. But Congress hasn't acted and the debate has become heated on both sides of the fence. What needs to happen is a court challenge--perhaps all the way to the Supreme Court--so we know what we're dealing with. Comcast and other providers --has the right to manage traffic on their networks, but the boundaries of what's allowed are blurry.

As for Comcast, the FCC ruling isn't going to have much of an effect. The company has already detailed remedies in anticipation of being slapped by the FCC.

In any case, the FCC has the Comcast issue on the top of its agenda for Aug. 1. From the meeting advisory:

TITLE:  Formal Complaint of Free Press and Public Knowledge Against Comcast Corporation for Secretly Degrading Peer-to-Peer Applications; Broadband Industry Practices (WC Docket No. 07-52)

SUMMARY: The Commission will consider a Memorandum Opinion and Order addressing a complaint and other filings concerning Comcast’s network management practices.

The festivities kick off at 10 a.m. EDT on Aug. 1.

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