The chairman of the FCC has stated that the agency is ready to punish some of the ISP’s that secretly control users web traffic. Though not specifically mentioning any names [Comcast], it is fairly common knowledge that one of the big cable providers was caught doing just that. Consumers have complained to the FCC that the cable giant does throttle back their connections when they are online and have cited file sharing restrtions imposed by the cable company. In an article it states:

“The commission is ready, willing and able to step in if necessary to correct any practices that are ongoing today,” FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said in opening statements of the hearing at Harvard Law School´s Berkman Center for Internet and Society.

Martin said service providers should be allowed to take reasonable steps to make efficient use of their networks at a time when consumers´ growing appetite for Web video threatens to bump up against networks´ capacity limits. But he said such management policies must be disclosed.

“Consumers need to know if and how network management practices distinguish between different applications, so they can configure their own applications and systems properly,” Martin said.

Consumer groups and a provider of online video have filed complaints alleging Comcast hampered traffic between users without notice, violating the Internet´s tradition of equal treatment of traffic. Two of the groups also asked the FCC to fine Comcast.

The issue got broad attention after an Associated Press story in October documented Comcast´s practices. Comcast later acknowledged that it sometimes delays file-sharing traffic for subscribers as a way to keep Web traffic flowing for everyone.

The bottom line seems to be that any ISP must disclose to their users their intent to throttle connections if they use such sites that share files.

Do you think this is fair?

Comments welcome.

Full article is here.

[tags]fcc, isp, comcast, throttle, file, sharing, websites, fair, connection,  [/tags]