Free Press: 'Comcast Is Not Above the Law'

Contact Info: 
Jen Howard, Free Press, (202) 265-1490, x22 or (703) 517-6273

WASHINGTON -- In legal memoranda filed with the Federal Communications Commission last night, Free Press presented definitive legal support for the federal agency’s authority to protect consumers' right to an open Internet.

Last fall, the Associated Press exposed that Comcast is cutting off access to legal file-sharing programs. In response to a complaint filed by Free Press and others, the FCC launched a high-profile investigation into the blocking practices of Comcast and other Internet service providers.

In filings with the agency and at hearings before the FCC and Congress, Comcast and other industry representatives have increasingly challenged the FCC's ability to punish their illegal behavior. Free Press' filing shows that the FCC has the jurisdiction and authority to take action on behalf of consumers' right to access the lawful content, applications and services of their choice.

Marvin Ammori, general counsel of Free Press and author of the filing, made the following statement:

"This is the threshold case on the FCC's ability to ensure openness in the broadband age. For years, the FCC has promised the public and Congress that it would protect consumers' right to an open Internet. As the FCC nears the end of its investigation into Comcast's practice of blocking and degrading legal Web content, there is a full record and a clear-cut case for the agency to take immediate action on behalf of consumers.

"Despite the cable giant's evasions, Comcast continues to interfere with consumers' ability to access the Internet content and software of their choice. Aside from the facts, Comcast has resorted to legal acrobatics to challenge the FCC's ability to enforce the law. But our legal filings demonstrate that the FCC has both the authority and the duty to protect a free and open Internet for all Americans.

"Comcast must answer for its actions. The Internet is not the Wild West, and Comcast is not a lone gunman above the law. The federal government's number one priority is protecting the consumers' right to access all lawful online content."

Read the filing here: http://www.freepress.net/files/FP_et_al_Petition_Ex_Parte_Filing.pdf .

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Free Press is a national, nonpartisan organization working to reform the media. Through education, organizing and advocacy, we promote diverse and independent media ownership, strong public media, and universal access to communications. Learn more at www.freepress.net.

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