The FCC has finally ordered Comcast to cease its practice of throttling back users who use BitTorrent and who use vast amounts of bandwidth while downloading files. But is the FCC decision enough? Since it only applies to Comcast, what happens if other ISP’s restrict bandwidth usage? Do we need a court case to decide what ISP’s can do?

These are some of the questions that are going to be needed to be answered, before we as consumers can jump up and down and claim a victory against bandwidth throttling. Over at The Huffington Post, this one statement says it all:

But nobody should confuse “groundbreaking precedent” with an adequate solution to the problem of broadband service providers using their bottleneck powers to pick winners and losers on the Internet. Yes, the Comcast decision will be powerful and significant. But it will not be enough to check the telco-cable duopoly.

Here is why the Comcast decision has its limits: First, the decision will apply only to Comcast. Second, the decision will apply only to the peer-to-peer throttling techniques that Comcast used. 

Surprise! Over at Comcast they have a different take on the decision. Comcast states:

 “We are gratified that the Commission did not find any conduct by Comcast that justified a fine and that the deadline established in the order is the same self-imposed deadline that we announced four months ago. On the other hand, we are disappointed in the Commission’s divided conclusion because we believe that our network management choices were reasonable, wholly consistent with industry practices and that we did not block access to Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services. We also believe that the Commission’s order raises significant due process concerns and a variety of substantive legal questions.  We are considering all our legal options and are disappointed that the commission rejected our attempts to settle this issue without further delays.”

One can conclude that Comcast may not just roll over and play dead. Comcast could challenge the FCC decision on several fronts, including the right of the FCC to even have made a decision. Comcast could also cite that it is being treated unfairly by the FCC since no other ISP’s were sanctioned in the decision.

So I guess the questions that need to be answered are:

Does anyone believe that it is only Comcast that is throttling back on downloads? Shouldn’t the FCC make a broader decision and state that no ISP should throttle back?

Comments welcome.

Huffington Post

Comcast Press release