February 28, 2008 | By Hugh D'Andrade

Comcast Caught Again

Comcast has a habit of blocking things it doesn’t like. First it was caught red-handed blocking P2P traffic on its networks. Now, Comcast has admitted to paying supporters to pack a public hearing in Massachusetts – a likely attempt to block the public from voicing concerns about their P2P policies.

The Register has a great quote from Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas:

As is common practice in Washington, we did pay a few people to stand in line [outside the meeting hall] and then hold seats for some of our Comcast executives and other Comcast employees who were attending. We were just trying to make sure the hearing was well-attended on our side.

Apparently Comcast’s opposition to open networks extends to an opposition to open debate as well. The cable giant wasn’t upfront with the public and its customers about its network policies – and now they have been caught once more with a deceptive public relations strategy.

But the news only got worse for Comcast this week, with reports that New York State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo has subpoenaed records looking into Comcast’s handling of P2P sharing on its networks. And it looks like the FCC is considering scheduling another hearing to allow all sides to be heard on this issue — this one to be held in Stanford, home to some of the loudest supporters of network neutrality in the country.

There is a way for Comcast to wake up from the PR nightmare it finds itself in -- it can start being upfront with the public, and support open debate on Internet policy.

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