FCC Holds Net Neutrality Hearings… Comcast Ducks It

The FCC held its en banc hearings into Net Neutrality on Thursday at Stanford University. Oddly, Comacast was a no show at this hearing. Perhaps it’s because they didn’t want to answer questions about the stunt that they pulled at the last round of hearings where they tried to put people into seats to keep out their opponents? Who knows. But it was a good hearing because you got a lot of viewpoints on both sides of the issue. For example, Robb Topolski, the software engineer who ignited controversy around Comcast’s disruption of BitTorrent peer-to-peer traffic, made BitTorrent users everywhere happy by giving his side of the story:

“Consumers were harmed when (Comcast) decided it would do something secretive and non-standard on the Internet,” Topolski said, referring to Internet service provider’s use of so-called reset tags to disrupt the transfer of large files from BitTorrent. The situation continues today. It has not stopped, despite all the wonderful agreements between BitTorrent and Comcast. I’m a ham radio operator. And Comcast is jamming authorized communication (on the Internet). I ask that before you leave today you signal your intent to stop these interferences.”

Meanwhile Rick Carnes of Songwriters Guild of America said that ISPs should be able to manage traffic on their networks and filter the transfer of pirated content:

“If regulation is to be considered, which we hope it isn’t, than illegal file-sharing should be at the top of the agenda.”

Gee. That sounds a bit like “Big Brother” does it not?

The quote I like is the one from FCC Commissioner Michael Copps:

“While we’re debating, the industry is using that time to decide on what will be the future of the Internet.”

That my friends is 100% true. Time to start doing something.

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