Comcast Corp. Monday said it has received letters of inquiry from the Federal Communications Commission regarding complaints that the company actively interferes with its subscribers' Internet traffic.
A coalition of consumer groups and legal scholars asked the agency in November to stop Comcast from discriminating against the sharing of certain types of Internet data among subscribers.
Two groups also asked the FCC to fine the nation's No. 2 Internet provider $195,000 for every affected subscriber.
And Vuze Inc., a company that distributes video using BitTorrent file-sharing technology, later filed a separate complaint, asking the FCC to clarify how much power Internet service providers have in controlling traffic on their lines.
In an investigation last year, The Associated Press found that Comcast in some cases hindered file sharing by subscribers who used BitTorrent. The findings, first reported Oct. 19, confirmed claims by users who also noticed interference with other file-sharing applications.
Comcast denies it blocks file sharing, but acknowledges milder interventions to improve the flow of traffic for the majority of its customers.
"We look forward to responding to the FCC inquiries regarding our broadband network management," said David L. Cohen, an executive vice president at Comcast, in a statement.
"We believe our practices are in accordance with the FCC's policy statement on the Internet where the Commission clearly recognized that reasonable network management is necessary for the good of all customers," he added.
Peer-to-peer file sharing is a common way to illegally exchange copyright files. But many businesses also are rushing toward it for legal distribution of video and game content.