by John Stoehr
Kevin Martin, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, said last week he would seek “enforcement action” against Comcast Corp. for slowing down internet traffic due to users downloading movies and other media, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. “You can’t limit consumers that way,” he told a news conference in Washington, D.C. The announced is seen as the beginning of a precedent to enforcing net neutrality — the notion of unmitigated free flow of digital information on the internet. For months, Comcast has dealt with accusations that it blocks internet traffic to gain a competitive advantage. Comcast admitted earlier this year that it targets people who use BitTorrent, a file-sharing software that consumes massive amounts of internet bandwidth. BitTorrent says its online video streaming is a threat to Comcast’s pay-TV service. The cable company opposes enforcement by the FCC, saying the federal agency is trying to enforce guidelines that do not exist. Consumer advocates, however, claim it’s necessary for the FCC to enforce net neutrality.