In 2005, Comcast started to covertly block peer-to-peerwebsites and technologies that its customers were accessing over its network.
Customers found themselves not being able to connect to services likeBitTorrent and Gnutella. The investigations by Associated Press, the ElectronicFrontier Foundation and others in 2007 confirmed that Comcast had impeded orslowed down file sharing applications without providing a disclosure to itscustomers. This led to two non profit advocacy organizations to file acomplaint against Comcast with the FCC. Assuming its power, FCC ordered Comcastnot to interfere with its customers access of the file sharing systems. WhileComcast, in an attempt to justify its intrusion, stated that it was necessaryto manage the scarce network capacity, FCC believed that Comcast could havemanaged the network through other ways which did not involve blocking thesefile sharing technologies.
FCC ruled that Comcast’s method of bandwidth managementbreached the federal policy and restricted customer’s access to content useapplications of their own choice.Comcast complied with the FCC orders and appealed to the D.CCircuit Court of Appeals. The court held that FCC did not have sufficientjudicial powers (as per the Communications Act of 1934) for imposing suchregulations on Comcast. The FCC’s decision of forbiding Comcast from intervening inits customers use of peer to peer networking applications was a great steptowards net nuetrality. The court’s verdict may have invalidated the FCC’s approachto open internet but it did not, in any way refute the importance of preservingfree and open internet.This case could have been a huge win for consumers at large,had FCC not lacked sufficient powers to enforce its rules. I beleive that weare not in elementary school anymore and it is not the job of our ISP toregulate what we do on the internet.
The job that they are paid for is tosimply provide us with open internet access. It is not fair for the ISPs todecide what kind of applications and websites we can connect to.