Debate over FCC's regulatory role heats up ahead of Friday vote on ComcastOn Friday, the five commissioners of the FCC are set to vote on whether Comcast should be punished for interfering with traffic over its network. Comcast won't have to worry about fines — at worst, the Internet service provider will only have to agree to stop the specific practice of blocking peer-to-peer BitTorrent traffic and disclosing to customers what network management it practices, which the the company already does. So why should you care?What's important is that if the vote passes, it will set a precedent that strengthens the FCC's claim on jurisdiction over regulating the Internet by giving some teeth to the agency's Internet Policy Statement from 2005. Republican chairman Kevin Martin can count on majority, thanks to the support of the two Democrats on the commission, and the motion is expected to pass. But not unanimously, as Republican commissioner Robert McDowell doesn't approve. He penned a dissenting opinion piece in the Washington Post arguing for the preservation of the laissez faire status quo for ISPs: "If we choose regulation over collaboration, we will be setting a precedent by thrusting politicians and bureaucrats into engineering decisions." (Photo by AP/Stephan Savoia)