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Friday, February 01, 2008

A new battle in the War of P2P

Two weeks into a Federal Communications Commission public comment period on whether Comcast deliberately degrades P2P broadband traffic, there's no shortage of angry users who feel cheated and want the tampering to stop. Evidence is also mounting that Comcast is blocking more than just P2P traffic.

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"On numerous occasions, my access to legal BitTorrent files was cut off by Comcast," a systems administrator based in Indianapolis wrote to the FCC shortly after the proceeding began. "During this period, I managed to troubleshoot all other possible causes of this issue, and it was my conclusion (speaking as a competent IT administrator) that this could only be occurring due to direct action at the ISP (Comcast) level."

The comment cycle began on January 14. It came at the request of net neutrality advocates whose petition to the FCC cited an Associated Press investigation concluding that in some instances Comcast "hindered file sharing by subscribers who used BitTorrent."

The cable giant claims that it has delayed access when usage was high, but has not deliberately singled out any sites or services. But Free Press, Public Knowledge and others groups want the Commission to issue a declaratory ruling on whether the practices with which Comcast and others have been charged violate the FCC's Internet policy statement.

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