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25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

25th Anniversary of FCC Decision Enabling Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
A series of posts describing how this all came about. (Click on picture above)

Thursday, March 27, 2008



Comcast and BitTorrent
Start to Bury Hatchet

Comcast and BitTorrent announced this morning that they will
"undertake a collaborative effort with one another and with the broader
Internet and ISP community to more effectively address issues associated
with rich media content and network capacity management. While BitTorrent
and Comcast are talking directly, they are also in discussions with other
parties to help facilitate a broader dialogue and cooperation
across industries."
FCC Commissioners Copps, Tate, and McDowell wasted no time in issuing their own statements on the agreement. The Republicans focused on the the superiority of bilateral private agreements rather than government action, while Democrat Copp stated,
"Today’s announcement confirms my belief that the FCC needs to play a proactive role in preserving the Internet as a vibrant place for democratic values, innovation and economic growth. If it had not been for the FCC’s attention to this issue earlier this year, we would not be having the conversation that we are having now among network operators, edge content providers, consumers and government about the best way to implement reasonable network management."
I do recall that in the late 1980s when the Commission, under Chairmans Sikes, resolved an argument between education FM licensees (at the low end of the FM band) and adjacent band TV channel 6 licensees, they refused to adopt in detail the bilateral agreement the two groups had directly negotiated with each other. At the time several of the commissioners stated that their job was to look after the public interest and that while the public interest was often what the directly affected parties might negotiate with each other, it was not always exactly the outcome of such negotiations. Thus the Commissioners did "fine tune" the bilateral agreement in that case.

Some time after this first posting, Chairman Martin issued his own statement. In it he stated,

"I am concerned, though, that Comcast has not made clear when they will stop this discriminatory practice. It appears this practice will continue throughout the country until the end of the year and in some markets, even longer. While it may take time to implement its preferred new traffic management technique, it is not at all obvious why Comcast couldn’t stop its current practice of arbitrarily blocking its broadband customers from using certain applications. Comcast should provide its broadband customers as well as the Commission with a commitment of a date certain by when it will stop this practice.

The Commission will remain vigilant in ensuring that consumers have the ability to access the lawful content of their choice on the Internet. Our hearing on April 17 offers us the opportunity to explore more fully what constitutes reasonable network management practices, including, as Commissioner Tate has highlighted, the important ability for network managers to block the distribution of illegal content, including pirated movies and music and child pornography."

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