Comcast Gets FCC Notice on Web Blocking

Comcast said it received two notices of inquiry on Monday from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is investigating claims that the cable operator blocks certain Internet traffic and applications moving across its network.

The FCC is seeking comment in response to complaints by video download company Vuze and Washington advocacy group Free Press.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin told reporters on Jan. 9 that the agency would investigate claims Comcast has blocked file-sharing services such as BitTorrent, which are used to distribute large digital media files such as TV shows and movies.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable television operator, is also the second-largest high-speed Internet provider and has more than 11 million subscribers. It has repeatedly refuted allegations that it blocks certain Internet traffic or applications.

The company said it used bandwidth technology on its network that can slow the delivery of files but would not block them outright.

“We believe our practices are in accordance with the FCC’s policy statement on the Internet where the Commission clearly recognized that reasonable network management is necessary for the good of all customers,” Comcast said in a statement.

Vuze has asked the FCC to clarify what constitutes “reasonable network management” by broadband network operators and to establish that this does not permit network operators to block, degrade or discriminate against lawful Internet applications.

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