Comcast squares off against supporters of "Net Neutrality"

Under fire from consumer groups and law professors who have issued formal complaints to the Federal Communications Commission, Comcast has told the FCC that hampering some file-sharing by its subscribers was a justifiable way to keep Web traffic flowing for everyone.

The groups say Comcast (the second-largest ISP in the U.S.) has breached the principle, known as "'Net Neutrality," of treating all Internet traffic equally. Comcast says it must curb some file-sharing traffic because some subscribers would otherwise hog the cables with their uploads and slow traffic in their neighborhood.

Comcast also said it was justified in using "reset" packets to break off communications between two computers. Comcast sometimes inserts these packets in the data stream to kill a file-sharing session. The move "fools" each computer into believing the other computer wants to end the connection. The return addresses of Comcast's packets indicate they're from one of the file-sharing computers when they are in fact from Comcast.

They also say the company was hampering movie downloading services because they might compete with Comcast's cable TV business.

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