RCN Settles at Unfortunate Time

WASHINGTON — An RCN settlement notice
proved to be a red flag to at least
one group pushing the Federal Communications
Commission to establish
Title II authority over broadband network

Talk about bad timing. RCN last week
posted a public notice identifying the
“class” in a class-action suit involving allegations
of impeding and/or blocking
peer-to-peer network management.
The settlement was reached in July
2009, but was not adopted by the New
York district court until March 29.

A subscriber sued RCN for allegedly
blocking or impeding peer-to-peer
file sharing while billing the service as
“fast and uncapped.”

“This is yet another example showing
why the Federal Communications
Commission (FCC) needs to be given
the authority over Internet-access
service,” Public Knowledge declared
last week. “As of now, there is no
federal cop on the beat to protect

RCN continues to deny the suit’s
claims, saying it settled to avoid potentially
significant legal expenses and

The FCC has said, in effect, it remains
on the beat. The issue might
be whether it has a sidearm, or only a
nightstick, to brandish. The commission
is expected to try to start clearing
up that issue within the next several

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.