July 11th, 2008 | Published in Google Public Policy
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said today that the Commission is wrapping up its investigation of Comcast's network management practices. Chairman Martin is recommending that his fellow commissioners find that Comcast violated the FCC's September 2005 principles that broadband networks be "widely deployed, open, affordable and accessible to all consumers."
For our part, we believe that such a Commission order will provide useful clarity on what types of practices are acceptable under the agency's Internet freedom principles, and help ensure that today's broadband networks remain open platforms to the Internet. No broadband company, including Comcast, should be allowed to employ traffic management practices that harm the interests of consumers, and the Internet itself, by failing to deliver fair access to all of the Net’s resources.
By the same token, let's give credit to Comcast for its willingness to discuss, debate, and adjust its process for managing Internet traffic. As far as we can tell, Comcast undertook its network management practices out of an intention to reduce congestion on its local network, and the company's recent agreements with BitTorrent, Pando, and Vonage are early signs of a productive ongoing dialogue within the Internet community. We're also glad that Comcast has committed to a protocol-agnostic approach to network management, and we look forward to its prompt implementation.