At an unusual offsite hearing hosted by the FCC on the campus of Harvard University, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin confirmed that the agency is considering steps that would prevent Comcast and other broadband Internet service providers (ISPs) from restricting the flow of web traffic across their networks, as Comcast again defended its policy of slowing certain high-capacity transmissions as an example of responsible web traffic management that is intended to optimize the network experience of all of its subscribers. Monday’s hearing relates to an ongoing FCC investigation into the restriction of BitTorrent file sharing traffic on the Comcast network. In addition to Comcast, officials of Vuze and BitTorrent (which have filed complaints against Comcast with the FCC), House Telecommunications and Internet Subcommittee Chairman Ed Markey (D-MA), and representatives of various consumer groups also attended the hearing. At issue is whether Comcast’s actions are in keeping with the FCC’s 2005 policy statement on net neutrality, which allows ISPs to engage in “reasonable network management.” As Markey voiced alarm over “the transformation of BitTorrent into bit trickle,” Martin pointed out that, “while networks may have reasonable practices . . . that does not mean they can arbitrarily block access to certain services.” As Martin confirmed that the FCC “is ready, willing and able to step in and correct any practices that are ongoing today,” FCC Commissioner Michael Copps called for “a specific, enforceable principle of nondiscrimination” that should “make crystal clear that broadband network operators cannot shackle the promise of the Internet.” As BitTorrent chief technology officer Eric Klinker compared Comcast’s tactics to “what hackers are doing on the web,” David Cohen, an official of Comcast, urged the FCC to continue its “extremely light regulatory touch” as he asserted that “it takes as few as 15 active BitTorrent users uploading content in a particular geographic area to create congestion sufficient to degrade the experience of the hundreds of other users in that area.”