FCC Issues Memorandum Opinion and Order about Comcast P2P Blocking

The FCC has issued its Memorandum Opinion and Order about Comcast's inteference with P2P traffic.

Here's the "Introduction":

We consider whether Comcast, a provider of broadband Internet access over cable lines, may selectively target and interfere with connections of peer-to-peer (P2P) applications under the facts of this case. Although Comcast asserts that its conduct is necessary to ease network congestion, we conclude that the company's discriminatory and arbitrary practice unduly squelches the dynamic benefits of an open and accessible Internet and does not constitute reasonable network management. Moreover, Comcast's failure to disclose the company's practice to its customers has compounded the harm. Accordingly, we institute a plan that will bring Comcast's unreasonable conduct to an end. In particular, we require Comcast within 30 days to disclose the details of their unreasonable network management practices, submit a compliance plan describing how it intends to stop these unreasonable management practices by the end of the year, and disclose to both the Commission and the public the details of the network management practices that it intends to deploy following termination of its current practices.

In the "Discussion" section, the FCC notes that ISPs may "may block transmissions of illegal content":

50. Comcast and several other commenters maintain a continual refrain that "all network providers must manage bandwidth in some manner" and that providers need "flexibility to engage in the reasonable network management practices." We do not disagree, which is precisely why we do not adopt here an inflexible framework micromanaging providers' network management practices. We also note that because "consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice," providers, consistent with federal policy, may block transmissions of illegal content (e.g., child pornography) or transmissions that violate copyright law. To the extent, however, that providers choose to utilize practices that are not application or content neutral, the risk to the open nature of the Internet is particularly acute and the danger of network management practices being used to further anticompetitive ends is strong. As a result, it is incumbent on the Commission to be vigilant and subject such practices to a searching inquiry, and here Comcast's practice falls well short of being carefully tailored to further the interest offered by the company.

Read more about it at: "Analysis: FCC Comcast Order Is Open Invitation to Internet Filtering"; "FCC Finalizes Comcast's Filtering Penalties"; "FCC Order Scolds Comcast for Changing Story on P2P Blocking"; and "Public Knowledge Praises FCC's Order Protecting Internet, Condemning Comcast Discrimination."

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