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Federal Court Kills Net Neutrality; Sides with Comcast

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Yahoo reports that a federal court panel of three judges side with Comcast and, by extension, other Internet service providers, when it declared that the Federal Communications Commission "lacks authority to require broadband providers to give equal treatment to all Internet traffic flowing over their networks."

This affects gamers because it opens the door for gaming-related traffic to be treated differently as it uses more bandwidth than activities like e-mail or casual web browsing. The origins of this case date back to 2007 when Comcast was accused to blocking BitTorrent traffic on its broadband service.

The FCC wants to "prevent broadband providers from favoring or discriminating against certain Web sites and online services, such as Internet phone programs or software that runs in a Web browser," while the ISPs want more control of what is utilizing available bandwidth.

Comcast appealed, claiming that the FCC didn't have the authority to enforce net neutrality after broadband was deregulated by the government during the Bush administration.

Some experts, like Free Press' Ben Scott, believe that this could lead the FCC to simply reclassify broadband as a regulated industry, giving the commission the authority to enforce net neutrality.

Yahoo has a good explanation as to why broadband providers might want to treat different kinds of Internet traffic differently.

The battle over the FCC's legal jurisdiction comes amid a larger policy dispute over the merits of net neutrality. Backed by Internet companies such as Google Inc. and the online calling service Skype, the FCC says rules are needed to prevent phone and cable companies from prioritizing some traffic or degrading or services that compete with their core businesses. Indeed, BitTorrent can be used to transfer large files such as online video, which could threaten Comcast's cable TV business.

The FCC has not disclosed its next course of action, but remains committed to net neutrality.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    April 6, 2010 7:02 PM

    In more British news, the Digital Economy Bill is probably going to passed on Thursday and it will introduce guilty-until-proven-innocent prosecution of suspected file-sharers.

    • reply
      April 6, 2010 7:42 PM

      The Digital Economy where all your purchases are made with Rape Dollars Pounds!

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