The controversy over Comcast's decision to restrict BitTorrent traffic will be argued in public on Monday, at an FCC hearing to be held in Cambridge, Massachusetts.The hearing is part of the FCC's investigation of whether such traffic management is "reasonable" on Comcast's part. It will also have a bearing on the recently revived question of "net neutrality," the idea that network operators should be forbidden to favor one kind of Internet traffic over another. The immediate controversy centers around technology that is often used to distribute copyrighted material illegally, but the larger question also touches on whether small businesses could end up having to bid against large companies for equal access to online customers.
"What we're going to see on Monday is a trial of the Internet," said Columbia Law School Professor Tim Wu; Wu will be joining Yochai Benkler from Harvard Law School on a panel with representatives from Comcast and Verizon. Interestingly, Verizon has said it has no current plans to restrict traffic on its network, but obviously wouldn't like to see that option closed off for the future.