FCC's Comcast questions raise many more questions

By this Friday cable TV giant Comcast must formally respond to new questions that the Federal Communications Commission has raised about how its newly-revised network management practices affect VoIP traffic. Telephony has a long, in-depth story about the "Pandora's Box" of issues that the FCC may have opened with these questions, which come about four months after Comcast first filed its new network management strategy with the FCC.

Comcast's revised approach to managing traffic should sooth many broadband users because it does not specifically identify and target their peer-to-peer traffic for throttling. But that new approach also means a very small fraction of users who are among the heaviest-volume broadband users, and whose voice applications also travel over the general Internet, could see their voice quality affected unintentionally.

The current criticism more broadly highlights the wish by VoIP companies and their customers who access the public Internet for their services to have both quality of service and freedom from regulation. Meanwhile, network operators who are looking to ensure quality of service for their own customers continue to have any attempts at network management heavily scrutinized, even though such efforts may result only in a possible slowing of traffic performance for a very small percentage of the heaviest Internet users.

For more:
- Telephony covers Comcast's congestion issues

Related articles
Sandvine and Camiant are part of Comcast's revised traffic management approach
The FCC already has punished Comcast for throttling file-sharing traffic
Comcast submitted its new network management plan to the FCC last fall

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