For Immediate Release
Timothy Karr, 201-533-8838
Free Press Concerned with Cox's New Internet Practices
WASHINGTON - Today, Cox Communications, the nation's third-largest cable company,
announced that in February it will begin testing new network management
practices that degrade traffic the company deems not "time sensitive."
Last summer, the Federal Communications Commission confirmed, in a
landmark ruling against Comcast, that it is illegal for Internet
service providers to block or impede access to lawful online content.
Months of investigation confirmed that Comcast was blocking legal
peer-to-peer file-sharing, and the company was ordered to stop and to
fully disclose every detail of both old and new network management
practices to the FCC. Research by the Max Planck Institute in Germany
last May indicated that Cox was engaging in a similar practice.
Cox's Web site says that its new network management technique
"automatically ensures that all time-sensitive Internet traffic -- such
as web pages, voice calls, streaming videos and gaming -- moves without
delay. Less time-sensitive traffic, such as file uploads, peer-to-peer
and Usenet newsgroups, may be delayed momentarily -- but only when the
local network is congested."
Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, issued the following statement:
"The lesson we learned from the Comcast case is that we must be
skeptical of any practice that comes between users and the Internet.
"The information provided by Cox gives little indication about how
its new practices will impact Internet users, or if they comply with
the FCC's Internet Policy Statement. Cox customers will certainly want
to know more about how the company is interfering with their Internet
traffic and what criteria it uses to discriminate.
"As a general rule, we're concerned about any cable or phone company
picking winners and losers online. These kinds of practices cut against
the fundamental neutrality of the open Internet. We urge the FCC to
subject this practice to close scrutiny and call on Cox to provide its
customers with more technical details about exactly what it's doing."
Read about Cox's new practices: http://www.cox.com/policy/congestionmanagement/
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