Comcast net neutrality case goes to court

U.S. Internet service provider Comcast said the Federal Communications Commission lacks the authority to admonish the company over how it manages traffic on its network.

Comcast representatives delivered oral arguments Jan. 8 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in its suit challenging the FCC’s authority in a case concerning the issue of “net neutrality.”

The case dates to 2007 when Comcast was accused of interfering with users’ traffic on peer-to-peer file sharing Web sites. After first denying it, Comcast eventually admitted to the practice and agreed to stop, according to news reports. In 2008, the FCC ruled Comcast’s practice was illegal under net neutrality rules it adopted in 2005, which require an Internet service provider to treat all traffic equally.

Comcast sued the FCC, challenging its authority. “There was simply no federal law to interpret, enforce, or apply against Comcast,” the company stated in a brief, reported Bloomberg News Service.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski expressed confidence the court would uphold the FCC’s authority: “This case underscores the importance of the FCC’s ongoing rulemaking to preserve the free and open Internet.”