FCC to rule against Comcast for BitTorrent disruptions

— 1:03 PM on July 28, 2008

The Federal Communications Commission will soon rule against Comcast for disrupting peer-to-peer traffic, according to an article by the Wall Street Journal. Comcast began the practice last year, but it vowed to stop in March of this year after coming under fire from customers—and under the eye of the FCC.

Citing anonymous FCC officials, the Wall Street Journal says the agency will rule on Friday that Comcast "violated federal policy by deliberately preventing some customers from sharing videos online via file-sharing services like BitTorrent." The ruling won't impose any fines, but it will reportedly force Comcast to stop hampering peer-to-peer traffic and "disclose its practices to customers." As the WSJ points out, Comcast has already largely complied, since it owned up to the traffic disruptions and promised to introduce a protocol-agnostic capacity-management system before the year is over.

Nevertheless, the WSJ believes Comcast will appeal the FCC's ruling. A Comcast spokeswoman told the paper, "We continue to assert that our network-management practices were reasonable, wholly consistent with industry practices and that we did not block access to Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services." If courts uphold the FCC's decision, this case could set an important precedent for other Internet service providers.

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