Groups Ask FCC to Investigate Comcast for BitTorrent Blocking

Comcast may soon find itself in hot water with the FCC after several public interest groups and legal professors from Yale, Harvard, and Stanford filed a network neutrality complaint against the company.

Listed as complainants are: Free Press, Public Knowledge, Media Access Project, Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, the Information Society Project at Yale Law School, Charles Nesson of Harvard Law School and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and Barbara van Schewick of Stanford Law School and the Stanford Center for Internet & Society.

In addition, Free Press and Public Knowledge have asked the FCC to fine Comcast for breaking the agency's Internet Policy Statement.

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"The FCC needs to take immediate action to put an end to this harmful practice," Free Press policy director Ben Scott said. "Comcast's blatant and deceptive BitTorrent blocking is exactly the type of problem advocates warned would occur without Net Neutrality laws."

The group alleges that the nation's largest cable provider is running afoul of FCC network neutrality regulations that the agency enacted in 2005. The statues are intended to "guarantee consumers competition among providers and access to all content, applications and services."

At the time of its passage, the FCC said that it would not hesitate to enforce them if the need arose. This challenge marks the first time that anyone has invoked the law in a complaint.

Comcast initially denied that it filtered traffic, but then two weeks ago admitted that it did delay some traffic in order to ensure no single customer is degrading service for others.

The complainants are demanding immediate action, and a temporary injunction while the FCC decides the merits of the case. A permanent injunction has been requested if the Commission finds Comcast is breaking the network neutrality provisions.

Comcast had no immediate comment on the complaint.

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