Washington

Cohen: Clear Internet Rules Would Be Better Than Confusion

Comcast exec. VP says opposition to FCC's BitTorrent order not about net neutrality 1/10/2010 01:30:00 PM Eastern

Comcast Executive VP David Cohen took to the blogosphere to
say that Comcast's opposition to the FCC's BitTorrent order is not a fight
about network neutrality.

Cohen said in a posting on comcastvoices.com that the
company still questions whether network neutrality rules are needed, it
supports "trying to make clear what the rules of the road are moving
forward," a point Comcast Chairman Brian Roberts made last week. Implicit
in that point is the one Comcast has been making in court: that there was no
posted speed limit sign or clear rules of the road when the FCC pulled Comcast
over.

Cohen's and Roberts' comments came in the wake of last
Friday's (Jan. 8) oral argument in the BitTorrent case. In that case, Comcast
argued that the FCC was wrong to adjudicate a complaint based on a policy
statement rather than established law, and did not give Comcast sufficient
notice or guidance on what kind of network management was out of bounds. The
FCC rules that Comcast's management/blocking of BitTorrent's peer-to-peer
file-transfer technology violated its open internet principles. It adopted
those principles after reclassifying Internet access as an information service
no longer subject to the mandatory access rules that apply to phone service.

Comcast and others this week will be weighing in on the
FCC's effort to codify those rules, which Comcast says would at least be better
than "the confusion of having the FCC try to enforce an unenforceable and
vague policy statement."

March