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Comcast Reveals Changes In Web Traffic Management

September 22, 2008

In response to a vote last month by the Federal Communications Commission to uphold a complaint over violations of open-Internet principles, Comcast Corp has provided the regulator with details of future plans to deal with Web traffic.

Comcast said it expects to have the new traffic management system in place across its network by the end of December.

With 14.1 million subscribers, Comcast is the second-largest Internet service provider in the U.S.

Comcast subscribers have complained in the past that the service provider wasn’t transparent about the bandwidth limits imposed on its customers.

In the past, Comcast had hindered peer-to-peer traffic from applications such as BitTorrent ““ a file sharing protocol used to distribute large amounts of data.

Comcast said on Friday that under the plan designed to give all users their “fair share” of bandwidth it would focus on managing the traffic of customers who are using most bandwidth when the network is congested.

Comcast will use software to determine if particular subscribers have been the source of high volume traffic, and will temporarily give traffic from those subscribers a lower priority status, meaning that its traffic could be delayed if the network is congested.

Earlier in the year, Comcast also announced that it would work with San Francisco-based BitTorrent Inc to find solutions and ease the process of sending large files over the Internet. BitTorrent along with the eDonkey protocol make up about a third of all Internet traffic, according to figures from Arbor Networks.

Comcast had said it was changing its network management practices to ensure all Web traffic is treated the same.

Several other Internet service providers have been hastily trying to figure out new methods of managing the rapid growth of online services including peer-to-peer applications, as well as online video, music downloading and photo-sharing.

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