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Comcast Agrees To Work With Vonage

Comcast, as part of its campaign to show that the private sector can address Internet management issues without government intervention, announced Wednesday a “collaborative agreement” with Vonage Holdings to ensure the MSO’s network-management techniques don’t disrupt the voice-over-Internet provider’s services.

The cable company has drawn scrutiny from the Federal Communications Commission for its practice of throttling back BitTorrent file transfers, which also raised the ire of "Internet neutrality" advocates, who oppose such targeted discrimination.

The BitTorrent episode led Comcast to announce in March that it would move to a “protocol-agnostic” network management approach by the end of 2008, and the MSO has embarked on three technical trials on this front.

“This collaboration with Vonage, and our outreach to many key participants in the Internet community, demonstrate that we are committed to provide network management solutions that benefit consumers and competition,” Comcast chief technology officer Tony Werner said in a statement.

Vonage CTO Louis Mamakos commented, “Although we’re competitors with Comcast, this understanding helps our two companies work together to balance the needs of network management with consumers’ ability to freely access the services, applications and content of their choice.”

As for what the Comcast-Vonage partnership will actually produce, details are vague.

Comcast said it has “committed to work together with Vonage” to ensure that network management techniques the cable company uses to reduce congestion are balanced with “the need to ensure that over-the-top VoIP services like Vonage work well for consumers.”