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Court Says No To 'Net Neutrality'; Digital Juke Company Sees No Impact

Posted On: 4/13/2010

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jukebox, digital jukebox, digital music, touchscreen, touch screen machines, Ecast, Jay Vlavianos, AMI Entertainment, TouchTunes, Touch Tunes, coin-op machines, arcade games, vending machines, vending machine business, Federal Communications Commission, FCC, Comcast, net neutrality

WASHINGTON -- A U.S. appeals court said the Federal Communications Commission exceeded its authority when it investigated and sanctioned Comcast in 2008 for deliberately preventing some subscribers from using peer-to-peer file-sharing services to download large files. The decision handed down on April 6 by a three- judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit was unanimous.

The FCC accused Comcast of deliberately slowing Internet traffic to some customers who were downloading large files using peer-to-peer file-sharing services. The commission demanded that the cable giant stop slowing traffic and disclose more information about its network-administration policies. Comcast complied, but challenged the FCC's decision.

At stake, according to observers, is how much the FCC can dictate the manner in which Internet providers like AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. manage traffic on their multibillion-dollar networks. The issue is "net neutrality," the view that Internet providers should treat all forms of Web traffic equally. A story in The Wall Street Journal points out that ordinary Web users have no reason to fear restrictions on legal content. But Internet giants like Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc. -- with plans to profit from offering more Web video and other high- bandwidth services -- are concerned that some telecommunications companies might restrict certain content or charge more to deliver it at high speeds.

Read more about the FCC's broadband action plan.

However, there may be little to worry about in the coin- op sector, where today's jukeboxes rely on broadband services. "Net neutrality has very often been about bandwidth abuse by consumers, and the ability of the provider to inspect traffic and place caps on them if they observe abuse," said Jay Vlavianos, production and IT director at Ecast Inc., one of the industry's digital content providers. "Ecast has always worked with, instead of against, our national broadband providers to ensure that our delivery network has followed best standards and practices. We see no impact to our systems as a result of this judgment."