FCC’s Slap on Comcast’s Interference with P2P Internet Connections

In an unprecedented decision, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently affirmed its authority to protect a “vibrant and open Internet” by ordering Comcast to cease selective and preferential interference over some of its online subscribers, namely those customers whom share online files via peer-to-peer applications (P2P).

Specifically, the FCC determined that Comcast had in fact “unduly interfered with Internet users’ right to access the lawful Internet content and to use the applications of their choice … [by deploying] equipment throughout its network to monitor the content of its customers’ Internet connections and selectively block specific types of connections.”

Simply put, Comcast interfered with people watching movie trailers, updating online game and software clients, and/or downloading open-source software available on P2P networks. As the FCC Chairman stated, Comcast was actively “blocking that communication when it uses a particular application regardless of whether there is congestion on the network, hiding what it is doing by making consumers think the problem is their own, and lying about it to the public.”

The FCC is now requiring that Comcast disclose the details of its discriminatory network management practices to the Commission, submit a compliance plan describing how it intends to stop these discriminatory management practices by the end of the year, and then disclosing to customers and the Commission the network management practices that will replace current practices.

If you are a Comcast subscriber (individual and business) and are involved with significant P2P related activities, including those that are business related, and have accordingly suffered economic harm as a result of Comcast’s actions, please contact our law-firm.