NCTA to FCC: Look at All Network Management

National Cable & Telecommunications Association points out broadband-network-management practices more restrictive than Comcast’s.
Publish date:
Updated on

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association told the Federal Communications Commission that if it is going to crack down on cable operators -- like Comcast -- for managing peer-to-peer traffic, it needs to look at all such network management.

In a filing in the FCC's open inquiry into broadband-network-management practices, the NCTA pointed out that almost all of the top universities "restrict users' ability to engage in activities that cause excessive congestion." It said Princeton prohibits the installation and use of P2P software on its computers and Columbia imposes "hourly bandwidth quotas."

The trade group also argued that some wireless carriers have policies even more restrictive than the ones at issue before the FCC.

"If there is to be regulation," the NCTA said, "it must apply equally to all providers," although it still prefers allowing all networks to be able to find ways to prevent congestion and boost customer satisfaction.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin tentatively scheduled a vote Aug. 1 on an enforcement action against Comcast relating to a complaint that it blocked P2P uploads via targeting BitTorrent. Comcast has since agreed to work with BitTorrent on a solution to the traffic issue and has pledged to adopt a "protocol-agnostic" network-management approach by year's end.

The FCC won't fine or otherwise sanction the company, Martin has said, since this is an effort to establish ground rules for network management that have not been clear before. The chairman has said that he prefers establishing those ground rules via enforcing the FCC's four principles of network nondiscrimination rather than through statute.