FCC finds Comcast in violation of net neutrality rules for BitTorrent blocking

The Federal Communications Commission has concluded its vote on Comcast, finding the cable operator in violation of net neutrality rules by a margin of 3-2, but it will not issue fines.

Democrats Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein, as well as Republican chairman Kevin Martin were reported earlier this week to have voted in favor of taking action against Comcast for secretly degrading or blocking peer-to-peer traffic -- specifically that used by BitTorrent.

The FCC served Comcast with a cease-and-desist order, demanding it end its throttling of BitTorrent traffic, and requiring the cable provider inform subscribers of its traffic management policies. For its part, Comcast said it hasn't been throttling or blocking traffic since March, and only did so to protect the integrity of its network.

FCC Chairman Kevin Marin said, "Consumers deserve to know that the commitment [to stop arbitrary blocking] is backed up by legal enforcement."

This is the first ever violation of net neutrality rules, and details of the case will not be available for some time. Dissenting commissioner Robert McDowell, however, believes this ruling will be "doomed" in appeal.

Comcast Senior Director of Corporate Communications and Government Affairs Sena Fitzmaurice today issued a statement regarding the FCC's ruling, saying: "[We] believe that the Commission's order raises significant due process concerns and a variety of substantive legal questions.  We are considering all our legal options and are disappointed that the commission rejected our attempts to settle this issue without further delays."

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