Comcast to Appeal FCC Network Management Order

Updated: Comcast says it has filed an appeal against the Federal Communications Commission’s Memorandum and Order on network management adopted August 1, 2008 and released August 20, 2008, in the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. This appeal is the latest chapter in ongoing traffic management saga that began with shocking revelations that Comcast was slowing down P2P traffic.

This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Comcast was going to appeal. Moreover, FCC’s order was legally toothless. Nevertheless, it did get the point across, though it doesn’t chastise other carriers for indulging similar behavior. Comcast has released the following statement attributed to David L. Cohen, Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation:

Although we are seeking review and reversal of the Commission’s network management order in federal court, we intend to comply fully with the requirements established in that order, which essentially codify the voluntary commitments that we have already announced, and to continue to act in accord with the Commission’s Internet Policy Statement. Thus, we intend to make the required filings and disclosures, and we will follow through on our longstanding commitment to transition to protocol-agnostic network congestion management practices by the end of this year. We also remain committed to bringing our customers a superior Internet experience.

We filed this appeal in order to protect our legal rights and to challenge the basis on which the Commission found that Comcast violated federal policy in the absence of pre-existing legally enforceable standards or rules. We continue to recognize that the Commission has jurisdiction over Internet service providers and may regulate them in appropriate circumstances and in accordance with appropriate procedures. However, we are compelled to appeal because we strongly believe that, in this particular case, the Commission’s action was legally inappropriate and its findings were not justified by the record

Update: Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, the organization that filed the original complaint against Comcast last fall, calls for Congress to get involved while Comcast’s appeal wends its way through the court system:

“Presented with an open-and-shut case that Comcast was secretly blocking Internet traffic, the FCC took action on behalf of Internet users everywhere. All the FCC required was for Comcast to disclose the details of its secret blocking and tell the FCC how it will end this harmful practice.

“The future of the Internet is too important to let Comcast tie it up in legal limbo. Congress should act now to pass Net Neutrality laws that clear up any uncertainty once and for all.”

You can read the actual filings and related documents by clicking on these links.