FCC's Martin wants Comcast to pay for P2P blocking

Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin is planning on taking Comcast to the woodshed for violating FCC principles that guarantee consumers open access to the Internet. The nation's largest cable company is having its feet held to the fire for "arbitrarily" throttling P2P traffic and not telling consumers it was doing so, reports the Associated Press. And Martin wants the company to pay. He told the AP he'll recommend a fine to commissioner-to be voted on Aug. 1--and require Comcast to provide details of just how extensive its blocking was and what the company's future traffic management plans are.

"The commission has adopted a set of principles that protects consumers' access to the Internet," Martin said. "We found that Comcast's actions in this instance violated our principles."

Comcast told the AP it doesn't block content or services and that the "carefully limited measures that Comcast takes to manage traffic on its broadband network are a reasonable part" of the company's strategy to ensure all customers receive quality service. That's a bit of an about face from its statements last fall when it said it was "slowing down" some file transfers.

If the FCC follows through with a fine, it'll be the first time it's actually enforced open-access rules and could be a bellwether for the net-neutrality advocates--and a shot across the bow of all Internet providers who manage their network traffic (c'mon, you know who you are) by blocking or slowing big file transfers.

For more:
- See the AP story