A Great Day for the Internet

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It was a great day for the Internet, today.  Just hours ago, the FCC ruled that Comcast violated federal policy by interfering with certain Internet traffic.  In doing so, it took an important step toward assuring that the Internet remains open and free.  In Chairman Martin’s words, consumers are entitled to unfettered access to the Internet.  For companies like Vuze, it means that the FCC is prepared to act against tactics that threaten innovation and the level playing field of competition.

When we filed our Petition for Rulemaking with the FCC last November, along side formal complaints filed against Comcast by Free Press, Public Knowledge and others, we had no idea what the ultimate outcome would be.  It now seems that the first chapter of this story is a victory for consumers, for innovation, and for all those who believe in a truly open Internet.

Today’s FCC Order does two important things.  First, it makes clear that, while reasonable network management of Internet traffic is permissible, there is a line that cannot be crossed.  Comcast crossed that line, and has been sanctioned accordingly.  Secondly, the FCC endorsed the idea that the rule of law must be accompanied by transparency into what ISPs are actually doing to our Internet traffic.

Some have been troubled or perplexed by Chairman Martin’s dogged pursuit of this matter.  Isn’t this really just about managing bandwidth hogs and, for goodness sakes, it’s not about free speech, right?  No one has seriously questioned the right of network operators to reasonably manage their networks.  They will continue to do so after this Order.  But, there is nothing reasonable about the use of techniques that indiscriminately target applications or protocols, regardless of their use.  This is something that anyone who cares about the free and open Internet should be concerned about.  Equally important, all free markets require transparency in order to be effective.

Internet traffic is not merely about electronic bits; bits are content.  Vuze, for one, uses peer-to-peer technology to deliver content from over 300 content owners, like PBS and Showtime, and content from thousands of our users.  Are these the bits that will be shaped or blocked next by Comcast or another Internet service provider in the name of network management?  Is this Adam Smith’s invisible hand of competition at work or the hands of Comcast engineers working behind the scenes?

From the beginning, we have said that this fight isn’t about us.  We’re just a tiny tech company located above a Chinese restaurant in Palo Alto, California.  However, we have a unique vantage point on the industry, and we feared that unfettered traffic throttling by Internet service providers could have a chilling effect on the rights of consumers, the ability of content owners and advertisers to reach their audiences, and on industry’s ability to innovate on behalf of consumers.  From the beginning, we’ve called for transparency, industry collaboration leading to standardization, and a healthy dose of innovation.

None of this is possible without wise regulators who are prepared to step in judiciously to sanction forces that act improperly. Today the FCC has done just that, and on behalf of our millions of users, we thank them.


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Guest Contributor

  • Diamond Dave

    Excellence of Execution!

    I am proud of you, pals!


    There it is!



    CONGRATS, pals!

  • Comcast User

    Thank-you! I completely agree that the net should remain open and free. What Comcast is doing is completely wrong, and throttling bits (torrent) traffic is terrible. Comcast tries to squeeze out the competition, by eliminating any type of competing technology (such as the ability to watch/download HD content from PBS, or other public broadcasters via Vuze).

    I’m glad that the FCC stepped in, and stuck up for the consumers. What Comcast needs to do is worry less on throttling users, and worry more on increasing bandwidth. Europe has 100Mbps+ connections to the internet (for home users), and the United States is WAY WAY WAY behind when it comes to bandwidth. Comcast (and many American ISP’s) are very slow at implementing high speed bandwidth, and Comcast needs to start working on their infrastructure and work on innovative ways to increase our bandwidth (not throttle, cap or reduce our bandwidth).

    I understand in the “interim” that a bit of network management needs to be done, but the first 500GB each month should be completely uncapped (and unthrottled), with no restrictions and anything after that… can be throttled back a little bit (to slow down the bandwidth hogs). But do NOT try to throttle down based on what protocols are being used, or what applications/traffic is using the network.

    Thank-you Vuze for helping to keep the internet open and free, and Comcast really needs to work on new innovations to INCREASE their bandwidth (not cap, throttle or reduce the bandwidth speeds). Comcast needs to work on bringing Gigabit to the curb, so each and every American has unrestricted Gigabit speeds in their home (with unthrottled access). The fiber backbones are there, it’s only a matter of Comcast getting off their lazy tails and rolling out new innovations and upgrading their network hardware (upgraded switches & upgraded cable modems) and increasing their network infrastructure and bringing the high speeds to our door. We need higher speeds, we need transparancy and innovation from Comcast, not throttling and restrictions. Comcast should spend less time worrying about capping, and throttling, and restricting internet access, and spend more time figuring out new ways to increase our speeds, eliminate the bottlenecks, and increase our throughputs, and give us really truely high speeds like you see in Europe and other parts of the world (100Mbps+ to the curb). I’d truely like to see nationwide gigabit speeds (wired and wireless) over the next 5-10 years.

  • CarliskSark

    :) The natural photo of the new arrival, taken by Emma Tallulah’s dad,

  • Comcast User

    Thanks stepping up the plate for us Vuze! As a Comcast customer that was a victim of forged rest packets with spoofed IP addresses I can’t thank you enough. Thank you stopping the Denial of Service attacks Comcast was launching against their customers and everyone else on the internet.

  • luis diego

    i got 1 cuestion…what happen is sudendly i have no seeds for exapmle y downloading a game…i got 5.45 Gb out of 6.42 and suddendly I run out of seeds what happen now??