Advanced Television

FCC will probe Comcast throttle

January 10, 2008

Kevin Martin, head of the Federal Communications Commission confirmed at CES that it will investigate complaints that Comcast actively interferes with Internet traffic as its subscribers try to share files online.

Last year the Associated Press found that Comcast in some cases hindered file sharing by subscribers who used BitTorrent. The report in October confirmed claims by users who also noticed interference with other file-sharing applications.

“We look forward to responding to any FCC. inquiries regarding our broadband network management,” said David L. Cohen, executive vice president at Comcast.

Comcast denies that it blocks file sharing, but acknowledged after The A.P. article that it was “delaying” some traffic between computers that share files. The company said the intervention was necessary to improve the surfing experience for the majority of its subscribers.

The FCC.'s response will be an important test of its willingness to enforce “net neutrality.” The agency has a broadly stated policy supporting the concept, but its position has not been tested.

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