Comcast should stop denying the undeniable and get on with the inevitable outcome of the FCC’s investigation into the cable giant’s network neutrality violations: suing the FCC for doing its job. It’s a time-honored Washington tradition.
When accusations first surfaced of Comcast throttling BitTorrent traffic in violation of the FCC’s network neutrality principles prohibiting traffic discrimination against specific applications, Comcast said, “Comcast does not, has not and will not block any Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services like BitTorrent.”
When Comcast was roasted and basted with the facts at public hearings in Boston and San Francisco, Comcast declared, “Comcast does not, has not and will not block any Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services like BitTorrent.” Several weeks ago when FCC Chairman Kevin Martin all but declared Comcast absolutely guilty before a Senate committee, Comcast said, “Comcast does not…,” well, you get the picture.
Now a new study by the Max Planck Institute finds Comcast, along with fellow cabler Cox Communications, guilty of blocking (forget throttling) BitTorrent traffic. Comcast, of course, denied it all in the name of prudent network management.
What Comcast should do is simply get to the real point here: The FCC’s network neutrality principles are probably legally indefensible, a point Martin himself once admitted but now waffles on.
“It is settled law that policy statements do not create binding legal obligations,” Comcast Executive Vice President David L. Cohen wrote in a March FCC filing. “Indeed, the Internet Policy Statement expressly disclaimed any such intent.”
Why not just crank up the litigation wagon now and get it on? Who knows, it might even force Congress to do something about imposing network neutrality obligations on broadband providers. Then, again, probably not.