Free Press: Comcast Caps Are a Band-Aid at Best

May 9, 2008
4:00 PM

CONTACT: Free Press
Jen Howard, Free Press,
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Comcast Caps Are a Band-Aid at Best

WASHINGTON, DC - May 9 - Comcast, the nation's largest cable company, is reportedly considering imposing a monthly cap on its customer's Internet usage. The cable giant is currently under investigation by the Federal Communications Commission for blocking and degrading consumer access to Internet content. Late last year, the Associated Press caught Comcast secretly blocking legal Web applications that compete with its video services.

Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, issued the following statement:

"We hope to learn more about Comcast's newest plan. It remains unclear how caps on downloads help solve the questions of upload congestion at the center of this debate. As a band-aid for congestion problems, well-disclosed caps for Internet use are obviously better than Comcast's current practice of illegally blocking Web traffic. But they're not the long-term solution.

"Though the proposed caps are relatively high, today's bandwidth hogs are tomorrow's average Internet user. If cable and phone companies can't handle the increasing consumer demand for high-speed Internet service, they should build better networks. Some are already headed in this direction -- a move that will eliminate the need for these caps.

"Finally, this does not negate the need for Network Neutrality. Above all, consumers must be protected from the cable giant's current fix for congestion -- illegal blocking -- which continues unabated."

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