Empty Ruling Against Comcast Has Something For Everyone

I can’t believe I still pay these people money.FCC Chairman Kevin Martin says he wants to rule against Comcast for violating federal guidelines when it blocked and degraded Web traffic to peer-to-peer sites. Comcast reluctantly admitted to degrading peer-to-peer service after its efforts were documented by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. When the FCC scheduled a hearing to discuss this, Comcast paid people to pack the hearing room, apparently to prevent its critics from testifying.

The ruling is what you make it
Though Chairman Martin has found Comcast’s practices outside the the principles established by the Commission, his ruling will not carry any fine or punitive element. Ars Technica declares this as a “Loss for Comcast,” using phrases such as “FCC slams Comcast” and calling it precedent-setting.

Our friends at Circle ID focus on the lack of fines. Their take is that while Comcast wasn’t forthcoming about their network management practice, what they did is standard among ISPs. So a hand slap is the most they deserve, and the FCC, which is over-reaching its legal mandate, probably shouldn’t be even doing that.

Does Comcast Care?
Comcast Spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice noted, “You can’t enforce this because there aren’t any rules. It violates all sorts of due processes in the way you are supposed to create rules.” So, in the end, Comcast’s position seems to be that any ruling will ultimately be chucked in the trash if a court should be required to review or enforce the FCC’s ruling. No, Comcast doesn’t care for this ruling one bit.

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