FCC to Test 'Net Neutrality' in Comcast Case

Service provider faces investigation over claims of traffic-blocking
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 9, 2008 12:54 PM CST
Comcast CEO Brian Roberts gestures during his keynote speech at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2008. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The Federal Communications Commission will investigate allegations Comcast hinders file sharing by blocking internet traffic for some users, the AP reports. Reports last year showed Comcast interfered with popular BitTorrent file-transfer protocol. Comcast has denied blocking data, rather claiming it delays such transfers to maximize network efficiency for all users. File sharing, widely used for online piracy, has substantial legitimate use as well.

The case will be an important milestone in the battle for so-called "net neutrality," the principle that Internet traffic should not receive preferential treatment from internet service providers. Comcast says it is acting within the regulation's exception for "reasonable traffic management." FCC chairman Kevin Martin insists it will “make sure that no consumer is going to be blocked."