Friday, July 11, 2008

FCC About to Rule on Net Neutrality?

There are widespread report that the FCC is about to "throttle" Comcast for throttling service to its subscribers.

See The Register here and NY Times here.

According to the Times:

Mr. Martin’s order would require Comcast to stop its practice of blocking, provide details to the commission on the extent and manner in which the practice was used and give consumers detailed information on how it planned to manage its network in the future.

The F.C.C. approved a policy statement in September 2005 that outlined a set of principles meant to ensure that broadband networks were “widely deployed, open, affordable and accessible to all consumers.”

The principles, however, are “subject to reasonable network management.”

Comcast argues that the agency’s policy statement is not enforceable and that the commission has “never before provided any guidance on what it means by ‘reasonable network management.’ ”

The CRTC might hang its hat on the following provision of the Telecommunications Act:

27 (2) No Canadian carrier shall, in relation to the provision of a telecommunications service or the charging of a rate for it, unjustly discriminate or give an undue or unreasonable preference toward any person, including itself, or subject any person to an undue or unreasonable disadvantage.

If the FCC has the power to punish Comcast and this is upheld, can the CRTC be far behind? And if the present Canadian regulatory framework somehow won't work, but the Americans get back to unthrottled internet, can Canada's Parliament be far behind?


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