Kevin J. Martin, the Federal Communications Commissioner, has recently said that his organization will investigate complaints that Comcast actively interferes with Internet traffic as its subscribers try to share files online.
In an investigation conducted during 2007, The Associated Press found that Comcast in some cases hindered file sharing by subscribers who used BitTorrent, a popular file-sharing program. The findings, first reported during October 19, 2007 confirmed claims by users who also noticed interference with other file-sharing applications. Comcast initially denied that it blocked file sharing, but later acknowledged after the article in the Associated Press revealed that it was “delaying” some traffic between computers that share files. The company has informed that the intervention was necessary to improve the surfing experience for the majority of its subscribers. Peer-to-peer file sharing is a common way to exchange copyright files illegally, but companies are also rushing to use it for legal distribution of video and game content. If Internet providers hinder or control that traffic, it makes them gatekeepers of Internet content.