Posted by: Peter Burrows on February 25, 2008
A very strange thing happened at the closely-watched FCC hearing that was held at Harvard today to discuss Net Neutrality. The supposed bad guy got the biggest cheers.
I wasn’t there in person; I was listening via the audio-only webcast. And I agree that Comcast executive vice president David Cohen did a bang-up job defending his company’s interests. But he was up against an FCC that called the hearing precisely to investigate the cable giant’s so-called “throttling” of Bit Torrent Traffic, and commission members and the Net Neutrality experts that testified pulled out some great lines to express their fear that Comcast’s actions are a grave threat to Internet freedom. Congressman Ed Markey, author of a new bill to ensure said freedom, was also on hand. You’d think his supporters would have filled some seats. But no, the ovation-o-meter definitely hit its apex for Cohen.
So what gives? Some suspect a seat-stuffing conspiracy by Comcast and supporters of the carrier’s viewpoint, to help win the PR game. That was the rumor in the hallways, says Vuze Inc.Gilles BianRosa, who testified about how Comcast’s throttling affected Vuze’s video service. He’s got no proof, but to his ear Cohen’s adoring fans showed more in the way of volume than in genuineness. “The cheers were suprisingly punctual, and in chorus.”