Comcast, in 2005 secretly started to block peer-to-peer technologies that its customers were accessing over its network. Customers found themselves not being able to connect to services like BitTorrent and Gnutella. The investigations by Associated Press, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and others confirmed that Comcast had blocked or slowed down file sharing applications without providing a disclosure to its customers.
This led to two non profit advocacy organizations to file a complaint against Comcast with the FCC. Assuming its power, FCC ordered Comcast not to interfere with its customers access of the file sharing systems. While Comcast in an attempt to justify its intrusion, stated that it was necessary to manage the scarce network capacity, FCC beleived that Comcast could have managed the network through other ways which did not involve blocking these file sharing technologies.FCC ruled that Comcast’s method of bandwidth management breached the federal policy and restricted customer’s access to content use applications of their own choice.Comcast complied with the FCC orders and appealed to the D.
C Circuit Court of Appeals. The court held that FCC did not have sufficient judicial powers (as per the Communications Act of 1934) for imposing such regulations on Comcast.The FCC’s decision of forbiding Comcast from intervening in its customers use of peer to peer networking applications was a great step towards net nuetrality.
The court’s verdict may have invalidated the FCC’s approach to open internet but it did not, in any way refute the importance of preserving free and open internet.This case could have been a huge win for consumers at large, had FCC not lacked sufficient powers to enforce its rules. I beleive that we are not in elementary school anymore and it is not the job of our ISP to regulate what we do on the internet. The job that they are paid for is to simply provide us with open internet access.
It is not fair for the ISPs to decide what kind of applications and websites we can connect to.