Comcast accused of blocking legitimate content



November 2, 2015

In the US, an alliance of consumer groups is asking the Federal Communications Commission to prevent Comcast Corporation from interfering with peer-to-peer traffic (P2P). Comcast is largest provider of cable services in the US, and one of the world’s leading communications companies.

It is alleged that Comcast has decided to start blocking customers from accessing legitimate content. This has typically included everything from legal P2P downloads to online business applications such as Lotus Notes.

The issue came to light in September when the Associated Press, through a series of tests, determined that Comcast was throttling uploads of completed files exchanged on the BitTorrent network

Comcast’s Executive Vice President David Cohen has stated that: “Comcast does not, has not, and will not block any Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services, and no one has demonstrated otherwise. We engage in reasonable network management to provide all of our customers with a good Internet experience, and we do so consistently with FCC policy.”

The advocacy group, Free Press, disagrees with this statement and considers that Comcast’s defence is bogus. It calls on the FCC to take immediate action to put an end to the harmful practice. It is thought that Comcast’s blatant and deceptive BitTorrent blocking is exactly the type of problem advocates warned would occur without Net Neutrality laws.

Net Neutrality ideals are designed to prevent ISPs from restricting access (slower speeds, blocking etc.) to content based on its source, ownership or destination.

Free Press is asking the Federal Communications Commission to permanently bar Comcast from blocking P2P traffic. It is also asking that the company should be fined $195,000 for each consumer affected by the problem. The figure comprises $97,500 for discrimination and $97,500 for deception.

Comcast Corporation currently has 12.4 million high-speed Internet customers and 3.5 million voice customers, and 24.1 million cable customers.

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