back to article FCC fingers Comcast VoIP favoritism

Comcast may be in trouble with the FCC once again over possible net neutrality violations in its latest "protocol-neutral" internet traffic management regime. FCC logo In a letter filed January 18, the US agency asks Comcast to provide "detailed justification" on why its new network management practices affect the quality of …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Thanks for posting this...

    It's been great ammo against the guys in the office that think net neutrality is a bunch of hippie free-love hoorah.

  2. matchbx


    I have been with Vonage for almost 2 years and have had very little problem. Over the last 2 or 3 weeks, every phone call that lasts for more than 8 or 10 minutes get dropped. If I could switch providers I would, but it's comcast or dialup.

    Comcast Executives can ROT IN HELL!!!!!!!

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    VOIP and service transparency in the UK

    We have avoided a US style net neutrality 'debate' in the UK so far - probably a good thing. We are happy to take inclusive deals on hubs, second line voip services and tolerate first generation traffic management as engineers punish the busiest 5% of users and guess at what traffic they can slow in order to keep all our bits moving. All this where there is little or no transparency of service parameters.

    The introduction of even basic traffic management is the first step in taking a single service best effort data transport and creating a multi-application data transport service with different best effort qualities applied to different data streams. By this I actually mean taking quality away from non-urgent streams in the hope (and it is hope) the remaining streams get a smoother ride.

    I have put request in Ofcoms 09/10 plan of action review under section 1.15 that they begin to produce some guidelines on NM best practice, which begins with transparency of service parameters and ends with the user determining how they wish use the available data transport specified in their contract!Perhaps if a few more readers make their views known we could get this included in their work plan for 09/10.

    I begin with the notion that affordable Broadband services means there will be congestion, but we the users working within the parameters of our service agreements set our priorities so our preferences at busy periods can be respected. Put aside notions of total, complete, free for ever, unlimited, none can be true given we are sharing a finite resource.

  4. raving angry loony

    Either way

    Either way, this is the USA. Thus, nothing will happen to Comcast, whether they lied one way or another. Consumer protection in North American is a myth, and the FCC is a toothless beast, much like Ofcom without the gonads. Assuming that latter had any.

  5. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Either way

    "Either way, this is the USA. Thus, nothing will happen to Comcast, whether they lied one way or another. Consumer protection in North American is a myth, and the FCC is a toothless beast [...]"

    Er, I don't know if you noticed, but the USA changed hands yesterday. It would be foolish to expect too much change overnight, but the following seems pertinent...

    "Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - that a nation cannot prosper long when it favours only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good."

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters

    Re: Ken Hagan

    I hope so, but I'll believe it when I bloody well see it. Still cheers to the FCC though. My only question is where the fuck has the FTC been since the MS browser fiasco?

  7. Robert Ramsay

    perhaps this is why

    Microsoft just dumped all their Comcast shares.

  8. Tom

    @Ken Hagan

    yep, all the kool-aid drinkers are buying the line that the free market spun out of control and Obama will fix.

    It ain't happening, and the economy is gonna continue going down, because what really happened is the government weenies tanked the economy then blamed it on the markets. Bush didn't help matters on this front, but at least he wasn't one of the weenies causing the problem. That would be the bunch who are now at the reigns of power. Like the idiot they want to run the IRS who didn't forward the money the IMF paid him to cover his taxes to the IRS for 4 years. Oh, and did you notice his tax bill was more than most Americans earn is any given year? Nope, its a new bunch of crooks, and this bunch is going to be even greedier than the last.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Personally, I prefer the way my ISP handles traffic. They give me a pipe and that's it. I get unlimited data transfer with no throttling. Even during the busiest times I see very little degradation in performance. That's how an ISP should work and that's how most work here in the US. Comcast is the exception to the rule and people are ditching them in droves as soon as a competitor starts providing service in their area. The problem is oversold bandwidth.

  10. Gaz
    Thumb Up

    This time, they might be telling the truth

    If Comcast is mostly cable (ie not fiber) then this would make sense as to how many other companies do it. The internet connection on cable is merely another channel or frequency on the cable like USAHD or CBSHD for example. What cable companies frequently do is put the internet on one channel and a private intranet for VoIP on another channel - so they are basically dedicated to each purpose and separate. SInce these frequencies have a finite bandwidth, they will never interfere with each other and never mix. They are probably even kept separate as VLANs within their network when they get to the head end. The only space where there might be contention is if they have to send the voip between different cities or facilities but I don't think that's a boatload of bandwidth.

    I hate to say it since I think they are the devil incarnate, but I think they might be ok this one time.

  11. Mike Silver badge


    If Comcast were carrying their VOIP on a completely distinct VLAN, then:

    1) How would it get through the NAT-Box that most folks use?

    2) How would that not make them a Telcom "carrier", and thus subject to FCC regulation and fees?

    On a related note, how can they say that their "new, higher speed" PowerBoost(tm) has specific System Requirements? Why would a standards-compliant network interface only work with specific versions of Windows and MacOS?

    Methinks they have a nasty web-proxy built into the Wonderful CD they include. Use it, and your traffic will be throttled to their advantage (e.g. would be much snappier than Amazon).Avoid it, and you will get the lowest bandwidth they can plausibly give you, although they will still charge for the "boost". Feh.

    C'mon, where's Richard Bennet to explain how by using their own proprietary electrons they can bend space and time, and while he's at it why slaughtering puppies on a children's TV show is "A good thing" (tm, Martha Stewart)

  12. Jim

    The difference

    I had a talk with one of the installers, they use the Internet but install a separate cable modem for VOIP. Also they charge $39.95 per month. Vonage is $24.99 a month. I was also told it would not affect the peak bandwidth and that downloading and uploading would not affect the calls. So i would guess the second modem has its own channels and bandwidth to run on.

  13. James Woods

    i got a good one for this

    Recently I decided to downgrade my comcast service from the 16mbit to the 1mbit since we now have the 250gb caps. Speed isn't really important to me if im going to be limited to roughly 9gb a day so I decided to cut the price in half.

    Since I downgrade service my modem constantly resets itself, i've had about 8 hours of outages this week alone and I have VOIP (through another company, not comcast) so everytime the service is out I have no phone service.

    I wonder if I had comcast digital voice if I would still have phone service during this? Everytime I call they say the downtime is scheduled but who are they scheduling it with, what are customers suppose to do that have phone service that relies on an internet connection?

    Asides from VOIP net-neutrality issues comcast has it's own backbone now, they are peering privately with several datacenters. Shouldn't that be an FCC issue as well? The company provides the internet service, provides the television service, provides the data transfer, they virtually have a monopoly on the entire internet experience for anyone that wants cable internet in comcast market (most of which you have no choice, comcast or nothing).

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