updated 01:25 pm EDT, Thu October 25, 2007
Congressman v. Comcast
A member of the US Congress is the latest to express criticism of national cable ISP Comcast. The company was recently caught in a scandal by the Associated Press, who revealed that the company was deliberately sabotaging peer-to-peer transfers, hampering or completely blocking transfers such as BitTorrent sharing. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) complains in an interview that Comcast is ultimately hurting one of the primary purposes of the Internet, which is sharing content between users. Moreover, despite its frequent association with piracy, Boucher notes that file sharing is also common in a "wide variety of perfectly lawful and appropriate applications."
Boucher says he will decline any efforts at legislation, however, that might enforce net neutrality in this regard, preferring instead to put pressure on Comcast to change its market policies. The company should, Boucher suggests, "simply tier their offerings and engage in a pricing structure that allocates more bandwidth to those who pay more, and less to those who pay less." As this is unlikely to be enough, Boucher is urging the company to eventually increase its capacity to meet demand. "That is what municipal broadband and other telecom companies are doing. Ultimately, the cable companies will have to deploy fiber to the house."
In the meantime, the Congressman says that "Comcast obviously needs to engage in some aspect of network management. The company has limited bandwidth, and there are times when there is more demand for service than the infrastructure can support." Boucher asserts that the company has an obligation to be more "evenhanded," and conversely should not engage in "blanket disqualification" of applications like BitTorrent clients. [via Crave]