Policy + charging

Martin Not in a 'Fine' Mood

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Kevin Martin is circulating a proposal that would smack Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) over its alleged "blocking" of some Internet traffic, but the agency chairman reportedly will not seek to fine the nation's largest cable operator. (See FCC's Martin Ready to Penalize Comcast.)

If Martin's proposal gets the necessary votes, he instead wants Comcast to stop its present policies. "It is not a reasonable network management practice," he was reported as saying during a press conference today. "We would tell Comcast they have to stop engaging in that practice. They have to disclose to the Commission where they are engaging in that practice."

Comcast, for its part, is already testing a new "protocol agnostic" bandwidth management system that would not single out P2P traffic. (See Comcast Getting 'Protocol Agnostic', Comcast CTO: Manage People, Not Protocols, and Comcast Ready to Test New Traffic Cop.)

The operator is also arguing that the FCC can't enforce the proposed sanctions as the situation stands today.

"It violates all sorts of due processes in the way you are supposed to create rules," Comcast senior director of corporate communications and government affairs Sena Fitzmaurice told news outlets Friday afternoon.

Martin indicated that's partly why he is not proposing a fine. He said his proposal would require Comcast make changes within a "reasonable time frame." The MSO has already stated it plans to migrate to its new system by year-end.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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