Comcast - We won't block Vonage or any other VoIP provider

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Comcast - We won't block Vonage or any other VoIP provider

According to eFluxMedia, Comcast is "working on rehabilitating its name and implementing reasonable management techniques through a new partnership with VoIP service provider Vonage." Vonage and Comcast said they will work on ensuring adequate management techniques to avoid network congestion to ensure high quality VoIP services.

I should point out that Comcast tarnished their own reputation when they intentionally degraded P2P traffic, particularly Bittorrent, a heavy bandwidth application. According to a 36 page thread on the Vonage Forums that dates back to 2006, Comcast was accused of degrading Vonage's voice over IP bat-phone.jpgquality intentionally. Comcat has denied these charges, but many Comcast users that have Vonage have had issues.

Whether conspiracy or not, now Vonage and Comcast stated they will have a "direct line of communications" between their network operations centers to resolve customer issues. Umm, so they couldn't talk to each other easily before, so now they need a special 'bat phone' direct hotline?

According to the Free Press, Marvin Ammori, general counsel of Free Press and author of the complaint, issued the following statement:

"We are baffled as to why it was necessary for Vonage to strike a network management agreement with Comcast to guarantee that their services are not degraded or blocked. Such anti-competitive, anti-consumer practices are already against the law. And beyond that, Comcast has been on the record as saying that they do nothing to deter their customers' use of VoIP.

"This announcement calls into question the company's honesty about its treatment of competing services. Was Comcast degrading Vonage's VoIP service before this announcement? And are they continuing to degrade other services that compete with their products? That these questions remain unanswered by today's announcement is cause for great concern. This collaboration should do nothing to deter the FCC from investigating and stopping Comcast's blocking other Internet services."

The partnership with Vonage is supposedly part of Comcast's commitment to move to a protocol-agnostic network management approach by the end of 2008. Comcast has announced collaboration with Pando Networks for a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities" (BRR) and participation in the P4P Working Group organized by the Distributed Computing Industry Association.

It all sounds well & good, but we'll see if Comcast lives up to their word to play fair and not mess with IP packets. I for one am not holding my breath.

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