Comcast Stooges Pack FCC Hearing

Cable and ISP giant accused of hiring seatfillers to silence critics
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2008 6:00 AM CST
Comcast Stooges Pack FCC Hearing
David L. Cohen, executive vice-president of the Comcast Corporation testifies before the Federal Communication Commission during a hearing in the Ames Courtroom at the Harvard University Law School in Cambridge, Mass., Monday, Feb. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Stephan Savoia)   (Associated Press)

The future direction of the Internet could be at stake in the FCC's decisions on net neutrality, but one of the ISPs concerned did its best to keep opponents out of a hearing on it, reports. Advocacy group and fierce Comcast critic Free Press says the firm hired people off the street to fill seats at a Cambridge, Mass., hearing into the ISP's competition-stifling practices. Many of the seatfillers snoozed through the meeting.

Comcast said they only paid people to save places for their employees, but witnesses said the supposed placeholders filled a lot of the seats during the meeting. "The sad thing about this is that literally hundreds of people who were not paid to stand in line, or paid by their employer to attend, were prevented from even entering the building," said a Free Press spokesman. (Read more Comcast stories.)

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