Comcast’s throttling deemed illegal by the FCC

ethernetIn the wake of the FCC versus Comcast brouhaha, wherein Comcast has been accused of illegally slowing down connections to file sharing services like BitTorrent without informing its cable internet subscribers first, the Federal Communications Commission has ruled that Comcast acted outside of the law.

According to a report in the Washington Post, the five-member panel will formally vote this Friday, although three of the five members have said that they’ll vote against Comcast. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin “is not expected to fine Comcast, according to industry insiders and members of the FCC who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the ruling is still pending.”

The ruling is expected to set precedent for future complaints. Roger Entner of IAG Research says, "This is a slap on the wrist for Comcast, but it will be a cutting off of the hand for the next provider who violates rules." It’s important to note that the throttling BitTorrent connections isn’t the issue at hand, it’s that throttling connections without making it clear to your customers is the problem. So the practice can, and likely will, continue. It’ll just need to be much more transparent in the future.