FCC issues Comcast throttling order

The Federal Communications Commission finally issued a formal order condemning Internet traffic throttling practices Comcast undertook that delayed peer-to-peer traffic on its network. The 67-page order comes about three weeks after the commission narrowly voted in favor of punishing Comcast for such practices. At first glance the order itself does not elaborate on what the FCC has already said--that Comcast must explain its network management practices and come up with new alternatives within 30 days.

Comcast actually has already made progress on that front with a new approach that slows access for the heaviest Internet users at times when the network is becoming congested. That approach is currently being tested in some markets in Pennsylvania, Florida and Colorado. The new wrinkle is that Comcast will not distinguish between different types of traffic. So P2P traffic won't be specifically targeted, though it seems likely some of the same P2P users affected by earlier discriminatory practices will be affected by the new approach too. The FCC order and new Comcast plan only assure the P2P users that they won't be singled out to be throttled. Furthermore, as Wired News Blogs points out, the FCC order actually gives service providers some license to further filter Internet content.

For more:
- read this story at The Washington Post
- see this post at Wired News Blogs

Related articles:
The FCC voted to punish Comcast earlier this month. FCC report
Verizon CTO Lynch says Net neutrality clouds the real need for network engineering to ensure quality. Verizon report