ISPs Escalate Ignoring FCC

comcast.jpg Fox started the trend of ignoring the FCC when it does something they don’t like. Now the duopoly has gotten up to the same trick:
Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, and cable research company CableLabs were all invited to participate several weeks ago, but declined, Martin said. The commission again reached out to Comcast after the announcement this week that it would develop a P2P bill of rights with Pando Networks, but they again sent their regrets, he said.

ISPs Give FCC Cold Shoulder at Internet Hearing, by Chloe Albanesius,, 04.17.08

You may recall at the previous hearing, at Harvard, FCC chair Kevin Martin couldn’t hear the difference between participant and consumer, while Comcast hired shills off the street to take up seats so people with things to say couldn’t. Now the duopoly is painting the FCC as unduly critical of themselves, and the press is going along with that, including the hometown Silicon Valley newspaper, the San Jose Mercury News, which should know better:
Little light came from the Harvard hearing, where FCC Chairman Kevin Martin badgered Comcast’s solitary witness with loaded questions and failed to display any insight into broadband carriers’ management challenges.

What’s more, Martin and the broadband critics have failed to acknowledge an underlying truth about the Internet: It was originally designed for the polite society of network engineering professors and students, not our rough-and-tumble world of large-scale copyright theft and video file-sharing. And it has design defects – bugs – that make it vulnerable to overload and abuse.

In neutrality debate, carriers get blamed for Net’s weaknesses, By Richard Bennett, San Jose Mercury News, Article Launched: 04/17/2008 01:35:28 AM PDT

The telephone wasn’t designed for our world of large-scale copyright theft, either. For that matter, copyright in our world has mostly been redesigned since the telephone was invented, and has been greatly extended since the Internet appeared. Still, nobody expects these same companies to police telephone calls for copyright.

Regarding video file-sharing, indeed there are legitimate network management issues. But what Comcast was doing was not legitimate network management; it was the same thing the Chinese government does with the Great Firewall of China to block content it doesn’t like. Has Comcast improved its act? Not showing up at an FCC hearing on the subject casts doubt on that.

The Mercury News inserts this gem of historical revisionism:

The Internet has long had growing pains. Researchers encountered “Internet meltdown” in the mid-1980s, and the World Wide Web became a “World Wide Wait” in the late 1990s. The solution to these problems was re-engineering both applications and network protocols, but that’s a dicey proposition now that more than 1.3 billion people use the Internet.
Well, which of the many cases of imminent death of the Internet predicted are we talking about here? The most famous case was actually in 1996, when Bob Metcalfe said:
“The Internet is collapsing; the question is who’s going to be caught in the fall The Internet might possibly escape a “gigalapse” this year. If so, I’ll be eating columns at the World Wide Web Conference in April. Even so, Scott Bradner should still be concerned about the Internet’s coming catastrophic collapses.”
Bob came to me for data. I demonstrated Internet performance had actually gone up for the past several years. For that and other reasons, he ate his prediction, literally.

It’s obvious in this case that predictions of the demise of the Internet are being used as scare tactics to support the duopoly’s desire to censor on behalf of copyright holders. Any prediction of imminent demise of the Internet should be treated with amusement and scepticism until solid evidence is presented. Comcast couldn’t be bothered to show up to do that.

Let’s see if Comcast ignores the subpoena from New York State.