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Comcast Ruling Raises Questions on FCC Regulation

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At first glance, Tuesday's federal court ruling on Comcast looked like a clean win for the cable giant and for competitors including Time Warner and AT&T. The court, after all, ruled that Comcast could regulate high-speed Internet traffic over its own system and that a company that wanted to push its content through Comcast's pipelines could not.

But the ruling might be only the beginning of a long campaign between Internet service providers and companies such as Skype, Google and Microsoft. The outcome is far from certain.

At issue is the wonky-sounding phrase "net neutrality." In 2008, the Federal Communications Commission told Comcast and other big high-speed Internet companies that they must treat content that flows through their pipelines equally, whether it's digitally lightweight e-mail or hefty movie files, by pushing it all through at the same speed.

Comcast complained that certain kinds of Internet traffic are so heavy that they slow down the entire system. Essentially, Comcast wanted to be able to enforce speed limits on its information highway, moving the big, traffic-clogging Internet traffic into a slower lane. Comcast sued the FCC, and Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with Comcast.

From The Washington Post
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