Yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in favor of Comcast and against the Federal Communications Commission in a peer-to-peer (P2P) case that harks back to 2007.
The ruling comes at a time when net neutrality is a topic once again under consideration in Washington following the recent introduction of the FCC’s National Broadband Plan.
The FCC originally had reprimanded Comcast for throttling upstream traffic for P2P applications. Comcast complied by announcing a bandwidth cap of 250 GB per month, and also informing consumers that, during peak hours, those consuming large quantities of bandwidth would be placed at a lower priority. (For more, click here). At the same time, Comcast filed an appeal of its case to the FCC.
In its 36-page ruling, the Court concluded: "Because the Commission has failed to tie its assertion of ancillary authority over Comcast’s Internet service to any ‘statutorily mandated responsibility,’ we grant the petition for review and vacate the Order."
FCC spokesperson Jen Howard made the following statement: “The FCC is firmly committed to promoting an open Internet and to policies that will bring the enormous benefits of broadband to all Americans.
"Today’s court decision invalidated the prior Commission’s approach to preserving an open Internet. But the Court in no way disagreed with the importance of preserving a free and open Internet; nor did it close the door to other methods for achieving this important end.”
In fact, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski seems to favor enforceable Internet rules as opposed to open Internet guidelines.
In response to yesterday’s ruling, NCTA President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow said: “The Court correctly ruled that a specific order by the previous FCC was wrong. We cannot state strongly enough that this decision will change nothing about the cable industry’s longstanding commitment to provide consumers the best possible broadband experience.
"We continue to embrace a free and open Internet as the right policy and will continue to work with the Commission and other policymakers and stakeholders to find a sound way of preserving that goal.”
For more FCC activity that affects cable, click here.