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FCC formally investigates Comcast over VoIP blocking

updated 02:50 pm EST, Wed January 21, 2009

FCC Investigates Comcast

FCC chairman Kevin Martin this week launched a formal investigation into whether Comcast's policies on voice-over-IP telephony are anti-competitive. Making the move the evening before the Obama presidency and his own resignation takes effect, Martin intends for the regulatory body to determine whether Comcast has been favoring data traffic for its own VoIP phone service over that from competitors. Concerns have been raised that the cable provider's service-independent throttling technique is still interfering with third-party VoIP services and reducing their call quality.

The notification has been received by Comcast, which says it's "reviewing" a letter sent earlier on Monday regarding the FCC's plans. The carrier has obeyed past rulings on traffic but only after being caught throttling BitTorrent traffic after repeated denials.

Martin also concluded his term in keeping with a practice of targeting cable companies by levying a $500,000 fine against multiple cable providers for not providing enough information for a separate investigation on the shift to digital programming. The FCC under the official has accused companies of unfairly shifting channels from analog to digital plans and forcing customers into more expensive subscriptions to keep particular shows.

It's not known whether the investigations will continue under the Obama administration, which is widely understood to be nominating Julius Genachowski as Martin's replacement. The venture capitalist and Obama campaign supporter has been a consistent advocate of net neutrality and may favor a continued investigation of Comcast, but has yet to implement policy relating to Internet traffic.




by MacNN Staff

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Comments

  1. Zaren

    Joined: Dec 1969

    +4

    About time

    I was signed up for Vonage over Comcast. Every time I took a call, my bandwidth went down to lower than dialup speed. As soon as I terminated the call, bandwidth went back up to normal. With that crimp in bandwidth, voice quality was horrible.

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969

    -1

    well

    What do you expect. You're paying for bandwidth, not the ability to use the bandwidth.

    If you actually want to use the bandwidth, you just need to sign up for their higher-tier plans.

  1. horvatic

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    Imagine that?

    Comcast now blocking VOIP too. They don't want you using there precious bandwidth. I'm not sure why there in the internet business myself. All's they complain about is how much bandwidth everyone uses. Well if you are going to be a provider, then start providing Comcast!!
    I personally think people should drop them like a rock. There service stinks, they throttle you back to dial-up speeds even though you are paying for high speed. Something very wrong about that if you ask me.

  1. loudpedal

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    No problem

    I currently have Vonage over Comcast and I haven't noticed any problems. If they were doing something, it doesn't appear that they're doing it now. I've only had the service for a few months but using the computer while on the phone doesn't cause any noticeable slowdown.

  1. loudpedal

    Joined: Dec 1969

    0

    No problem

    I currently have Vonage over Comcast and I haven't noticed any problems. If they were doing something, it doesn't appear that they're doing it now. I've only had the service for a few months but using the computer while on the phone doesn't cause any noticeable slowdown.

    My ex just signed up for Comcast VOIP and they installed a butt-ugly converter. I'm glad I have Vonage.

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