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Comcast accused of unfair VoIP practices

updated 01:20 pm EST, Mon January 19, 2009

Comcast VoIP scandal

Comcast is not treating VoIP traffic as fairly as the law demands, the FCC alleges. In a letter issued by general counsel Matthew Berry and wireless competition bureau chief Dana Shaffer, the FCC notes that whereas Comcast's Digital Voice VoIP service is unimpeded, third-party VoIP technologies remain subject to supposedly "protocol agnostic" bandwidth throttling. The cable provider has an obligation to explain why the disparity was omitted in earlier filings, according to the letter.

The throttling is nominally aimed at controlling high-intensity traffic such as BitTorrent downloads, and scales down a subscriber's bandwidth for 15 minutes if it proves to be the cause of congestion. It was devised in response to original FCC complaints, accusing the company of breaking net neutrality policies by specifically targeting peer-to-peer traffic.

The issue is of particular concern to taxpayers, as while many VoIP offerings qualify as "information services," placing Digital Voice on a separate layer may technically qualify it as telecommunications, subject to different fees and more stringent regulations.

by MacNN Staff





  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Seems to me their argument will go something like "Our phone services are not part of our internet service, and, as such, have their own bandwidth. This is why our service is Comcastic!"

  1. Butch Hauke

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Some companies just never learn.

  1. starwarrior

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Cox Won

    Have had Packet8 over Cox net or years. Suddenly the old modem and the replacement modem does not work. Changed to Cox telephone today and everything is okay. Been loyal to Packet8 but I cannot fight their battles from them.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969


    VoIP Bandwidth

    So VoIP is sucking up enough bandwidth to trigger Comcast's bandwidth abuse filters!? What is VoIP's typical kbps rate?

    Also, next they should go after the Video on Demand service. It should also be treated as a data connection when it comes to net neutrality. It's no different from iTunes, Netflix, and a few other online video rental services. Otherwise Comcast can cap our bandwidth limits and cut off access to these other services while their own VOD is unaffected.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    VOD service

    Video on Demand is a completely different technology. It may use the same 'pipe' in the big picture, it has nothing to do with internet connectivity, and, as such, would not be covered.

  1. Guest

    Joined: Dec 1969


    there was no space

    on the form. Next time, the gov't needs to add a field titled: "How is your company breaking local, state or federal law? Describe."

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Ins't the ONLY thing Comcast should be accused of 'unfair' practices on.

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