Just An Online Minute... Is Comcast Interfering With Its Competition?
Late last week, The Associated Press reported that Comcast was systematically interfering with traffic to peer-to-peer sites like BitTorrent and Gnutella. Users often go to those sites to share pirated music and movies, but peer-to-peer sites increasingly offer authorized material as well.
Comcast defended itself in a statement, arguing that it merely uses "the latest technologies to manage our network." That management includes delaying peer-to-peer file transfers, a Comcast executive told The New York Times.
While Comcast frames the issue as one of traffic management, observers can't help but wonder if Comcast isn't also motivated by the fact that BitTorrent is a competitor.
Either way, Comcast's tactics appear to violate principles of net neutrality, or the idea that Internet access providers not discriminate or degrade service based on content.
And, while legislation mandating ISPs to adhere to net neutrality has stalled so far, the authorities have the power to investigate companies that sell Internet access and then deliver degraded service. Even absent new laws, the government should probe Comcast's actions here.