Comcast Appeals FCC Decision on Blocking Traffic

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Cable giant Comcast on Thursday filed a court appeal of an August ruling from the Federal Communications Commission that the company can't delay some peer-to-peer traffic.

Last month, the FCC voted 3-2 to prohibit Comcast from slowing BitTorrent traffic in an effort to reduce network congestion. Those voting against Comcast claimed such actions by the cable provider would violate FCC Net neutrality principles.

In the appeal, filed Thursday with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Comcast claimed the FCC said those principles - which were adopted in 2005 - set out guidelines, but no specific prohibitions.

Comcast filed the appeal to protect its 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," David Cohen, Comcast's executive vice president, said in a statement. "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."

However, Comcast will abide by the FCC's order during the appeal, and it will continue with plans to move toward other network management techniques by the end of the year, Cohen added.

Last week, Comcast announced it would put a 250-gigabyte-per-month bandwidth cap on residential customers beginning Oct. 1.

A spokesman for Public Knowledge, among the three organizations that asked the FCC to investigate the Comcast BitTorrent traffic throttling, said he was not surprised by the appeal. "We expected that they'd appeal," said Art Brodsky.