It’s the principle of the thing. Comcast has filed a brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals in D.C. in which it argues to have a Federal Communications Commission ruling against it overturned.

In 2007, Comcast was caught blocking some peer-to-peer traffic. The FCC subsequently ruled that Comcast’s actions violated network neutrality policy and demanded that Comcast change the way it managed its network, which Comcast had already begun doing while the FCC commissioners deliberated.

Comcast filed a brief with the Court of Appeals, arguing that the FCC lacked the authority to enforce any ruling on Comcast.

The FCC does have certain authority to compel compliance with laws and regulations. Policy is a different matter – policy does not have the force of law, so the FCC’s authority to compel compliance with policy can be tenuous.

If the FCC’s decision against Comcast is allowed to stand, however, that would establish a precedent that could presumably give the FCC license to continue to enforce network neutrality policy over any Internet service provider (ISP), which is why Comcast is fighting to have it overturned.

And it is for that reason that the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and other companies and organizations are also supporting Comcast in its appeal.

The FCC has until Sept. 21 to respond to Comcast’s appeal. The Court of Appeals would not start hearing the case until late in November.

More Broadband Direct 08/14/09:
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•  AT&T files program complaint against Cablevision
•  Cloakware takes 1st step toward home networking
•  Deadline extended for broadband stimulus applicants
•  Sonus Networks to layoff 10% of workforce
•  On2 vows to fight challenges to Google acquisition
•  Blockbuster's Q2 loss narrows, misses Street view
•  Broadband Briefs for 08/14/09