Monday, September 22, 2008

After FCC Complaints, Comcast Details Changes for Managing Web Traffic

Comcast Corp., the country's largest cable operator by subscribers, formally submitted plans to the Federal Communications Commission late Friday detailing how the company plans to manage its broadband network. Rather than target specific types of bandwidth-intensive applications like peer-to-peer file sharing, the company will instead slow Internet speeds for its heaviest users at peak times when its network is congested. Comcast will do this by creating a second stream of traffic for recent heavy users that will have a lower priority when compared to its other customers. The so-called protocol-agnostic approach is intended to comply with the FCC's network neutrality principles, which restrict Internet service providers like cable and phone companies from degrading traffic from particular companies. On Aug. 20, the FCC had given Comcast -- the country's second-largest provider of broadband connections after AT&T Inc. -- 30 days to outline its new management policies.

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