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The Courts The Internet Technology

Court Unfriendly To FCC's Internet Slap At Comcast 215

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the unchecked-authority-generally-bad dept.
Several sources are reporting that federal judges have been harsh in their examination of the FCC's action against Comcast in 2008 for the throttling of Internet traffic from high-bandwidth file-sharing services. "'You can't get an unbridled, roving commission to go about doing good,' said US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Chief Judge David Sentelle during an oral argument. The three-judge panel grilled FCC General Counsel Austin Schlick on the parts of communications law it could cite to justify the Comcast punishment. The FCC argues that it was enforcing an open Internet policy implicit in the law. Judge A. Raymond Randolph repeatedly said the legal provisions cited by the FCC were mere policy statements that by themselves can't justify the commission's action. 'You have yet to identify a specific statute,' he said. The judges' decision in the case could throw into question the FCC's authority to impose open Internet rules."
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Court Unfriendly To FCC's Internet Slap At Comcast

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  • Re:Just Pass a Law (Score:4, Interesting)

    by maxume (22995) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:00PM (#30699962)

    What if I want to pay for a 'lazy' broadband package, where I agree to be throttled when the network is loaded, in exchange for better throughput when things are less busy?

  • by je ne sais quoi (987177) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:10PM (#30700088)

    You can't get an unbridled, roving commission to go about doing good

    Yes, god forbid someone in the government actually try and help people. We must put a stop to this at once! The U.S. government should only work to protect the corporate profit, as it has been for the last thirty years.

    I mean really, why don't these judges just go out and admit they're on comcast's payroll already? Somebody should tar and feather those judges. Gah, I'm so sick and tired of regulatory capture [wikipedia.org]. When will it all end? S

    Here [cnet.com] is a non-pay link with the same info.

  • Consumer Interest (Score:3, Interesting)

    by psbrogna (611644) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:11PM (#30700100)
    I'd be happy enough if the ISPs were held accountable for delivering advertised bandwidth when they're not throttling. Does ANYBODY get advertised performance from ANY ISP? Most of 'em tell you up front they won't guarantee bandwidth. To provide some context, my whining comes to you today from the middle of Rural America- an area seriously neglected by the broadband industry.
  • by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:15PM (#30700168)

    I would think to a "reasonable person", who knows what the internet is (an internetwork of networks carrying internet protocol and internet control protocol traffic), that would mean I get to send and receive such packets to the ability of the provider to carry them, without discrimination, to the limit of the bandwidth I pay for.

    IOW, if the traffic demand is D and the capacity is C, C D, the actual bandwidth available to someone desiring d is c=d*C/D.

    When the law or contract is silent on a matter, the courts will generally apply a "reasonable person" interpretation on what the contracted agreement is.

    Now, the FCC might have been out of place to punish Comcast, but that does not mean that subscribers would not be in a position to launch a breach of contract suit.

    Comcast's tough if they oversold bandwidth to the point where they have to discriminate between their users so as to try to minimize the fraction that they piss off (which is really what they are doing -- punishing those that expect what they are paying for).

    Disclaimer: I have Comcast business internet service with a static IPv4 address, and I had their residential service as well. I found significant variance in bandwidth available on their residential service, but not their business service. I expect it is not as oversold. I no longer subscribe to their residential service. I actually considered load-balancing outbound TCP sessions across both links at one point, but, given the variance, found it would have been more cost-effective to subscribe to greater bandwidth on their business line. In the end, I decided it wasn't worth it, or necessary, and dropped the residential service, keeping the business service.

  • Re:No Suprise here (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ironsides (739422) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:50PM (#30700596) Homepage Journal
    Also, look at [wsj.com] Venezuela [circleofblue.org].

    Oh, and the TVA?

    One such considered above criticism, sacred as motherhood, is TVA. This program started as a flood control project; the Tennessee Valley was periodically ravaged by destructive floods. The Army Engineers set out to solve this problem. They said that it was possible that once in 500 years there could be a total capacity flood that would inundate some 600,000 acres (2,400 km2). Well, the engineers fixed that. They made a permanent lake which inundated a million acres (4,000 km). This solved the problem of floods, but the annual interest on the TVA debt is five times as great as the annual flood damage they sought to correct. Of course, you will point out that TVA gets electric power from the impounded waters, and this is true, but today 85 percent of TVA's electricity is generated in coal burning steam plants. Now perhaps you'll charge that I'm overlooking the navigable waterway that was created, providing cheap barge traffic, but the bulk of the freight barged on that waterway is coal being shipped to the TVA steam plants, and the cost of maintaining that channel each year would pay for shipping all of the coal by rail, and there would be money left over.

    from the wiki article.

  • Re:Just Pass a Law (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Friday January 08, 2010 @04:55PM (#30700682) Homepage

    Well, as long as they are throttling all their customers (at a particular service tier) in the same manner, I wouldn't be real worried about it.

    Which certainly would not be the case. And even if it were, it doesn't take into account ISP C.

    You paid ISP A to not throttle. The website/peer paid ISP B not to throttle. But ISP C thinks your content violates their rules, so they throttle it. So you both paid to get nothing, and your ISPs can't do anything about it.

  • Re:No Suprise here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by gangien (151940) on Friday January 08, 2010 @06:03PM (#30701542) Homepage

    there's a few companies with DSL, there's satalite, there's dialup and there's the option of not having internet. quite a few options for me.

    Of course, i live in a suburb of seattle, not everyone has as mayn options. But they still have choices. And if people like me make the right choices, they'll soon have better choices to make anyways, as I'll reward the companies doing the right thing.

  • Re:No Suprise here (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sonicmerlin (1505111) on Saturday January 09, 2010 @11:31AM (#30707794)
    You`re a friggin` blithering idiot aren`t you? The vast majority of people don`t have more than 1 or 2 options. Satellite and dialup are not `competitors`. They don`t provide anywhere near the same quality of service as cable or DSL. You obviously haven`t even bothered taking an economics 101 class to understand what free market `competition` actually refers to. Your mindless drivel is sickening to read. I once again recommend you find a bridge to jump off of.

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