Comcast challenges FCC on net neutrality

Company questions rules for Internet regulations

Comcast Corp., once again questioning the need for “net neutrality” regulations, challenged the FCC to identify a “clear statutory basis of authority” in imposing rules of the road for the Internet.

The company did not dispute that the FCC had the authority — only that it must do use it in a more explicit way “supported by substantial record evidence.”

Earlier this month, a federal appeals court threw in doubt the FCC’s authority to police Internet traffic when it ruled in favor of Comcast in a suit it brought against the FCC. Its decision stemmed from a 2007 case in which the FCC clamped down on Comcast for slowing traffic from a peer-to-peer site. But the commission based its actions on a set of policies rather than clear statutory authority.

Comcast’s latest comments were among those submitted to the commission on Monday, one of the key deadlines as the FCC forges ahead on its schedule to consider a set of rules designed to prevent Internet providers from favoring one type of Web traffic over another. As they have done before, Hollywood studios and music industry officials were expected to weigh in, primarily over concerns that Internet rules not prevent providers from cracking down on piracy.

“(I)f the Commission elects to go forward with open Internet regulations, it must revisit the basis for its authority set forth in the (proposed rules) and proceed under the parameters provided by the D.C. Circuit,” Comcast said in the filing.

The FCC has said that it will rest its policies on a “solid legal foundation” and suggested that, when it came to net neutrality, there were “other methods for achieving this important end.”

As it has before, Comcast’s comments reflected a view of it and other Internet providers that net neutrality was a solution in search of a problem, arguing that there was little “compelling need” for them.

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