A federal appeals court gave notice Friday it likely would reject the Federal Communications Commission’s authority to sanction Comcast for throttling peer-to-peer applications.The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit suggested as much during oral arguments with the FCC and Comcast. The Philadelphia-based cable concern is appealing the agency’s 2008 decision ordering it to stop hampering the peer-to-peer service BitTorrent as a traffic-management practice.
The order was in response to complaints Comcast was sending fake signals to users of BitTorrent, a bandwidth-heavy protocol often used to pirate copyright content.
“You have yet to identify a specific statute,” Judge Raymond Randolph told an FCC lawyer regarding the legal authority to ding Comcast.
To be sure, Friday’s reaction to the appellate court hearing made it increasingly clear the Obama administration’s FCC has been preparing for a defeat concerning net neutrality (.pdf), one of the largest issues surrounding internet freedom.
FCC Chairman Kevin Martin’s replacement, Julius Genachowski, proposed new rules last year that the agency hopes could sidestep an unfavorable circuit decision.
[Read more at Wired]