By Ed Oswald | Tuesday, January 20, 2009 at 11:26 am
Okay, I could have titled this a little less PC, but hey this is a family site. Anyway, the FCC is looking into the cable provider’s practices surrounding its VoIP service. And surprise, surprise: it has to do with net neutrality once again.
The charge is that Comcast is giving preferential treatment to its own phone service at the expense of its competitors. The FCC is pointing to Comcast’s own documentation on the service, which state VoIP calls are placed over a seperate network away from the Internet and thus less prone to congestion problems.
What this means is that network management policies put into effect by the cable provider could essentially degrade service from competitors such as Vonage, while leaving its own VoIP service unaffected. This could leave VoIP calls sounding “choppy,” Comcast has admitted
If this is true rather than some marketing gobbledygook, Comcast’s phone service would then fall under a different set of telecommunications policies that are reserved for regular landline service. Essentially, it would be considered a phone company like any other and thus would also be subject to regulation and fees of the landline providers.
Free Press, which has been a frequent critic of Comcast’s network management policy, said it was pleased by the FCC’s action.
“This letter is a positive sign that the FCC’s Comcast decision was not a one-and-done action on Net Neutrality … an open Internet cannot tolerate arbitrary interference from Internet service providers. Congress and the FCC must close any legal loopholes that permit anti-competitive behavior to thrive.”
Comcast had no immediate comment on the matter, however it has until January 30 to respond to the FCC’s allegations.