The NCTA filed its comments in the “Broadband Industry Practices” proceeding, in opposition to two petitions requesting that the Commission enact new regulation that would restrict the ability of broadband service providers to manage their networks to provide a better customer experience.
The NCTA said allowing service providers to regulate themselves and how their traffic is managed is the best course of action, not federal regulations. The FCC has started looking into complaints by BitTorrent users that Comcast and Verizon were restricting bandwidth-intensive peer-to-peer (P2P) Internet usage.
Comcast has previously said that it manages its networks to provide the best service to the bulk of its customers and occasionally needs to briefly delay some Internet traffic.
The NCTA said that managing congestion of available bandwidth is essential to ensuring the highest quality and diversity of broadband service, and it has been critical to the growth, evolution and accessibility of that service.
“Congestion issues are not unique to cable broadband networks – they are a constant issue for networks of every type,” the NCTA’s filing said. “Wireline and wireless phone networks, airlines and roads all experience congestion at times of peak usage. And with all of these networks, simply ‘building more’ is not a complete solution. It is in the nature of networks to congest, and it is the obligation of network owners to manage that congestion for the benefit of their customers.”
According to the NCTA, P2P services are particularly “congestive” as users of these services – only a small percentage of all Internet users – not only download large files for long periods of time, but also make their computers available as servers that constantly upload files for use by others.
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