August 20, 2008  ·  Lessig

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Free Press (and others) alleged that Comcast was blocking the BitTorrent application. We’ve known for sometime the result in this case (because of the weird practice of the FCC to release the results of an order without necessarily releasing the order). But at the crack of dawn (California time) today, the Commission released its 34 page order.

It is fantastically well done. So much so that I felt compelled (in that weird lawyer like way) to blather my own 5 pages of thanks in a letter to the Commission that will be mailed today.

  • http://www.millsworks.net/blog Robbo

    I especially liked their comment in response to Comcast’s desire to negate FCC jurisdiction over the issue after already agreeing to such authority in the 2006 agreement between them, the FCC and Free Press:

    “It would be entirely unfair for us to reverse course now in response to jurisdictional objections presented by another party to that proceeding, Comcast. Indeed, it would be akin to the famous example of Lucy pulling away the football just as Charlie Brown is about to kick it.”

    Perfect.

  • http://toilville.com peter

    In your comments, you use the analogy comparing the Power grid to the internet. But most net connections are flat rate and power is metered based on use. Do you think metered internet is the only way to insure neutrality? How else should the ISP’s protect themselves from “abuse” by overuse?

  • http://www.knoxlib.org Melissa Brenneman

    What a great letter! I’m adding my thanks. I especially like the part about “secret sauce.”

  • http://www.illinoisbusinessattorney.com/ David

    “… the Commission has identified statements made by Comcast that were, at
    a minimum, not true, raises significant questions about Comcast’s behavior.”

    What a polite way to call someone a liar!

    Good letter.

  • Vtpeg

    The system architecture that evolved from the hybridization of a hub and spoke coax cable system and common carrier telephone system is the problem. Comcast got their turf without any legal oversight. Remember SDSL and ADSL? Forget the former. What we’re stuck with was designed to push content downstream to consumers and leave just enough upstream bandwidth to enter a credit card number and shipping address. Hybrid fiber coax nodes aren’t designed to handle any amount of subscriber generated data, let alone bittorrent.

  • http://fifthstories.org Andy

    Peter, you said:
    [Quote]
    August 20, 2008 10:15 PM peter:
    In your comments, you use the analogy comparing the Power grid to the internet. But most net connections are flat rate and power is metered based on use. Do you think metered internet is the only way to insure neutrality? How else should the ISP’s protect themselves from “abuse” by overuse?
    [End Quote]

    The analogy to the pwoer grid only goes so far as per the Internet. Power grids and power usage are metered because electrical power is a finite resource. The Internet is not infinite, but it is much less finite.

    The point of the analogy is that anything that is designed to run off of a 120v power socket will do so, and does not need the permission of the local power company as long as the owner of that socket is in good standing with the power company. If I design a clock to be used on my 120v socket, I don’t need to to test it against your power company’s 120v socket.

    So a Internet-interfacing program, like a new P2P protocol, should not need permission or registration with Comcast to be used by a Comcast user. Comcast had set up its network – without informing its users – so any user who used a P2P client would fail in that.

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