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In 2007, Comcast blocked its subscribers’ use of the BitTorrent protocol. In response, Public Knowledge and Free Press asked the FCC to reprimand Comcast because the blocking violated the FCC's network neutrality principles. The FCC agreed, but Comcast quickly challenged the FCC's authority to protect consumers (and to act under Title I) in court.
In January of 2010, Comcast seemed likely to win their case against the FCC. Public Knowledge filed comments with the FCC, urging it to bring broadband Internet access back under Title II because Title II would give the FCC a much stronger legal basis to protect consumers online.
In April of 2010, the DC Circuit court ruled in favor of Comcast and rejected the FCC's (use of Title I ancillary authority in) punishing Comcast. This ruling immediately brought everything that the FCC did in connection with the Internet into question, including Universal Service Funding, required disclosures, usability, cyber-security, and network neutrality, as well as large parts of the National Broadband Plan. Public Knowledge once again urged the FCC to bring broadband Internet access back under Title II.
Public Knowledge’s Position
There is no way to justify an Internet provider using spoofing technology to interrupt peer-to-peer applications and traffic—or any other lawful activity—on its network. We agree with the FCC’s 2005 broadband policy statement in believing that:
- Consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice.
- Consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice.
- Consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers.
Comcast’s treatment of the BitTorrent protocol violated all three of these principles and is the prime example for why strong Net Neutrality rules are necessary to protect consumers’ rights.
What you can do to help
- Subscribe to our email list for updates on hot issues and events.
- Donate to Public Knowledge to help us keep our doors open.
- Give policy makers a piece of your mind: act now.
For more information
- Read our original complaint against Comcast.