Free Press Accuses Comcast of Packing FCC Hearing
Cable Operator Admits to Line-Standers but Scoffs at Impact
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/26/2008 1:03:00 PM
Free Press accused Comcast of packing the Federal Communications Commission hearing on network neutrality at Harvard Monday, while the cable operator said it simply had lots of interested employees in the area and some line-standers to save seats for them.
"First, Comcast was caught blocking the Internet. Now it has been caught blocking the public from the debate. The only people cheering Comcast are those paid to do so," Free Press campaign director Timothy Karr said. “Clearly, Comcast will resort to just about any underhanded tactic to stack the decks in its favor. And yet Comcast still expects us to trust it with the future of the Internet?"
Comcast countered that it was just trying to make sure it could get seats given the push by activists to turn out their own supporters.
"Yesterday’s FCC hearing in Boston was open to the public and well-attended by many, including Comcast employees, who obviously had an interest in its content," the company said in a statement. "Comcast informed our local employees about the hearing and invited them to attend. Some employees did attend, along with many members of the general public. For the past week, Free Press has engaged in a much more extensive campaign to lobby people to attend the hearing on its behalf."
A Comcast spokeswoman conceded that the company hired line-standers but that those were only about 10% of the 300 or so people who got into the hearing. There were more Comcast employees there than the 30 or so line-standers would accommodate, she conceded, although she did not say how many.
Comcast was there in part to defend itself against allegations, currently being investigated by the FCC, that it blocked BitTorrent peer-to-peer traffic. Comcast executive David Cohen said the company did not block such traffic, but that it did employ reasonable network-management practices to prevent bottlenecks at peak periods.
Don't forget the main point of the day:
Comcast _did not stop_ anyone from entering the hearing room...they merely _delayed_ their entrance until the event was over.
JMcHugh - 2/27/2008 12:23:00 PM EST
I completely frustrated with Comcast as they are unwilling to remedy a situation that makes no sense to me whatsoever. Two months ago, they gave away my telephone number and stated it was some type of computer error. I have had this number for nearly 8 years. It is a desirable number as it appears to look like a business number. My husband called from out of town a few months only to reach another individual on the other line who was also very confused by the mixup. Comcast immediately switched the line back to us.. Howevever, our line (the same telephone number) in the same are code is now being shared with the anger individual who was promised our number and had had business card made up in advance as well as other business related materials. The line is now somehow split and Comcast will not explain this situation, nor remedy it. They keep promising to to have a "manager" call us "make the switch" to the upgraded service and cancel out the other line which is using the upgraded line which should be ours. It never happens. I do not have the technical understanding and would like to find someone who can explain the technology........ Does anyone understand how this can actual work, how two parties can share the same existing line, it does not make sense to me. I want to keep my telephone line and they keep asking me if I would just like to change my number...
If anyone has information, I would appreciate it.
Elizabeth Cochran - 2/27/2008 10:05:00 AM EST
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