Instead, it’s all about how Comcast treats P2P activities. Last fall the company was accused of hindering P2P transfers among its customers, a charge the company first denied. That is, until Associated Press was able to prove that Comcast did not treat all P2P exchanges equally.

And that’s the heart of the issue, since ISPs aren’t supposed to block or purposely circumvent any particular application on their networks. That is, not without letting the customers know about it.

But Comcast got caught with its hands on the data-packet throttle last fall when AP proved the network was interfering with P2P file transfers.

According to Associated Press, Comcast wasn’t blocking or hindering all P2P operations. Instead, the company was interrupting file transfers that involved one sender and one receiver when both were Comcast subscribers. To do this, Comcast would send signals, called “reset packets,” to both parties, effectively telling each one that the other was breaking the connection. To each of the computers involved in the P2P transaction, each reset packet appears to have come from the other computer, not from Comcast.

Advocacy groups Free Press and Public Knowledge say there’s a word for creating and sending a message that appears to the receiver as if it was sent from someone other than the real sender. That word is forging.

Comcast says it’s managing traffic, trying to keep the pipes clear for all its users and prevent anyone from hogging the network.

Consumer groups and law professors weren’t all that happy with Comcast’s explanations and, after several complaints about how the ISP manages traffic, the FCC is now looking into the matter.

At issue is the concept known as “Net Neutrality,” which calls for network administrators to treat all data equally. Whether it’s a purchased download from iTunes, or a home video of the last family reunion, Net Neutrality calls for both to be treated the same, with no preference given to either content’s data packets.

But another issue has been raised regarding Comcast’s use of reset packets. Because Comcast’s television cable operations offer TV shows and movies through its OnDemand service, and because legitimate companies are now employing P2P for video downloading, the company’s critics claim Comcast is disrupting P2P transfers because those transfers compete with OnDemand.

So far, Comcast has only answered specific FCC questions, saying that hampering some P2P transfers is justifiable when trying to keep the data moving for everyone. Plus, on January 25th, the company amended its Acceptable Use Policy to include a few lines about how it reserves the right to interrupt file-sharing actions. All in the name of network management, of course.

Despite all the talk about Net Neutrality, the concept of treating all data equally is just that – a concept. And even though Net Neutrality is a concept backed by the FCC, it is not the law of the land.

What’s more, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin supports network management methods. So, while the FCC endorses the Net Neutrality concept, it might end up sympathetic to an ISP’s need to keep those data packets moving.

Of course, it’s the users who will ultimately win or lose no matter how this issue is resolved. People tend to look unfavorably on those who hog resources meant to be shared by everybody, and if P2P usage clogs ISP networks, hampers e-mail delivery or slows down a YouTube video, users are more likely to side with the network management crowd.

That is, of course, unless it’s their very own P2P downloads getting that special network management touch. That’s when they’ll side with Net Neutrality advocates.