Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Practical View of Comcast vs FCC

One thing to note about the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit decision in Comcast vs. F.C.C.-- it doesn't restrict the F.C.C.'s ability to regulate Internet services; rather, the court ruled that the broad regulatory powers enjoyed by the F.C.C. were overstepped when they told Comcast to stop discriminating against BitTorrent traffic . Many individuals dismiss this as a "bad decision" of the court, but to do so ignores important issues relevant to this ruling.

I generally favor 'net neutrality, and I certainly don't take a kindly view of the arbitrary packet discrimination employed by unscrupulous companies; left unchecked, such practices easily (perhaps inevitably) lead to "the pseudo service scenario of bribery ... extortion", but the same slippery slope analogy could slide the other way. Had the appellate court ruled in favor of the F.C.C. it would have set a precedent for allowing a regulatory authority to essentially invent new powers not specifically delegated to it by any act of Congress. If you would prefer that Congress pass such a law, you may wish to ask your representatives to support H.R. 3458.