Free Press: Comcast Decision 'Major Victory' for Open Internet

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

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to punish Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, for blocking users' access to the open Internet.

In a landmark decision, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and Commissioners Michael Copps and Jonathan Adelstein approved an "enforcement order" that would require Comcast to stop blocking and publicly disclose its methods for interfering with Internet traffic.

Tests by the Associated Press and others showed that Comcast blocks users' legal peer-to-peer content by sending fake signals that cut off the connection between file-sharers. Today's decision follows an exhaustive FCC investigation, launched in response to a complaint from Free Press and Public Knowledge urging the federal agency to stop Comcast's blocking.

Josh Silver, executive director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

"The FCC's bipartisan decision to punish Comcast is a major victory. Defying every ounce of conventional wisdom in Washington, everyday people have taken on a major corporation and won an historic precedent for an open Internet.

"Comcast's history of deception and continued blocking show contempt for the online consumer protections established by the FCC. We commend Chairman Martin and Commissioners Copps and Adelstein for standing up for Internet users and working across party lines to protect free speech and the free market.

"Today's order makes it clear that there is nothing reasonable about restricting access to online content or technologies. Moving forward, this bellwether case will send a strong signal to cable and phone companies that such violations will not be tolerated.

"But the fight is far from over. A duopoly market -- where phone and cable companies control nearly 99 percent of high-speed connections -- will not discipline itself. We look forward to working with the FCC and Congress to ensure proactive measures keep the Internet open and free of discrimination, and accessible to all Americans."

Read the Comcast Complaint: http://www.freepress.net/docs/fp_pk_comcast_complaint.pdf

At 1 p.m. today, Free Press joined Public Knowledge, peer-to-peer company Vuze and the Open Internet Coalition to discuss the impact of the FCC's decision on consumer choice, online innovation and free market competition.

To listen to audio from the conference call, click here.

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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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