In many countries, customers are unhappy about what they get in Internet connectivity. In most cases it’s about being unable download or upload a file more than a few MB in size. In the US, the unhappiness is about file sharing. But key issue is the same: do you get what you pay for?
Consumer groups have said that such discrimination against some content providers has been aimed at Comcast’s rivals and is both unnecessary and threatens to undermine the freewheeling nature of the Internet. In his comments, Kevin J. Martin, the agency’s chairman, tended to agree.
“They must be conducted in an open and transparent way,” Mr. Martin said at a hearing Monday on network neutrality and network management. “While networks may have reasonable practices, they obviously cannot operate without taking some reasonable steps, but that does not mean they can arbitrarily block access to certain services.”
In sharp questioning to a senior executive from Comcast, Mr. Martin indicated that the commission was considering whether to levy a fine or issue an order that would limit the company’s ability to slow down broadband traffic to consumers using file-sharing programs.
Michael J. Copps, a Democratic commissioner, said that until recently, the cable company’s policies had been decided “in a black box that the American public could not peek into.” He expressed alarm that any cable companies might be degrading or slowing network traffic.
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