Whether broadband can provide serious competition to cable TV has suddenly transformed from a theoretical question to the heart of a political debate in Washington.
The debate is expected to come to a head on Tuesday morning, when the Federal Communications Commission is scheduled to meet to decide whether to impose extensive new regulations on the cable industry.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a Republican who's acting more like a Democrat, wants the regulations. The cable industry, already reeling from a hefty decline in share prices, definitely doesn't.
Also taking the free-market view are Republican senators, who said in … Read more
Members of the SavetheInternet.com Coalition and Internet scholars from Harvard, Yale and Stanford law schools filed a petition and complaint with the Federal Communications Commission Thursday in response to claims that Comcast is blocking some kinds of peer-to-peer traffic.
The complaint comes after the Associated Press discovered, based on its own testing, that content was blocked on several Comcast broadband connections using the peer-to-peer filing sharing network BitTorrent. Other Comcast users have also complained that their BitTorrent content has been blocked.
In their petition, the groups claim that Comcast is violating the FCC's Internet Policy Statement, which essentially … Read more
Comcast's reportedly aggressive filtering of BitTorrent and other file-sharing traffic is drawing calls for a U.S. Senate hearing--and a renewed push for Net neutrality laws.
Sens. Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) on Friday sent a letter asking Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) to convene a hearing as soon as possible to investigate "the topic of service discrimination by phone and cable companies."
The request isn't new: Dorgan and Snowe both made a similar plea after reports that Verizon Wireless had initially refused to carry a reproductive rights group's text messages.
The senators … Read more
While a class action lawsuit is definitely one way to get Comcast to behave, another perhaps more productive way to do so is to have politicians step in and regulate.
On Tuesday, I discussed the issue of Comcast's anti-BitTorrent "network management" with Rep. Rick Boucher, D-Va., who is a strong supporter of consumer rights and has led the battle to undo the damage caused by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or DMCA.
It's long been an open secret that many major telecommunications companies, including Internet service providers (ISPs) and cellular data providers, impose specific limits on the volume and type of bandwidth consumed by their customers.
"Open" in the sense that these companies almost universally reserve the right to impose such limits, and occasionally make public statements defending their right to do so. "Secret" because the companies rarely reveal their specific limits, and because it seems like these limits are constantly being rediscovered by people who ought to know better.
It reminds me of people who claim … Read more
I noted a few weeks ago that I was considering dropping Vonage for Skype. Today, I pulled the trigger. After several weeks with no Vonage, I've been much happier. Skype actually works most of the time. Vonage? Almost never (at least during this past year - it used to be much better).
So, today I canceled my Vonage account. So that I have a "real" phone service I also signed up for Comcast's Digital Voice service. I'll give that a spin for a few weeks to see if it's solid. If not, I'll … Read more