Comcast Confirms Deactivation of Congestion Management System

Tied to a broader set of broadband internet disclosures (opens in new tab), Comcast published an update  (opens in new tab) Monday (June 11) confirming that a congestion management system that was initially deployed in 2008 has been deactivated.

Back in 2008, Comcast hooked up with vendors such as Sandvine on a “protocol-agnostic” bandwidth management technique that followed an FCC order that Comcast stop using another technique that was targeted to peer-to-peer applications.

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The update coincided with the June 11 rollback of the FCC’s network neutrality rules (the FCC still employs transparency requirements of ISPs), and also a pledge by Comcast that it would continue to support a neutral and open internet along with a link to disclosures stating that the cable operator does not block or throttle or prioritize for pay or otherwise favor affiliated content online.

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Though Comcast deactivated the system it introduced in 2008, it left the door open if it needed to be revisited.

“As our network technologies and usage of the network continue to evolve, we reserve the right to implement a new congestion management system if necessary in the performance of reasonable network management and in order to maintain a good broadband Internet access service experience for our customers, and will provide updates here as well as other locations if a new system is implemented,” Comcast explained.

Though the original congestion management system was deemed officially deactivated with the June 11 update, it previously had been in place but left unused for more than a year, according to a Comcast official.

The official added that Comcast’s widespread deployment of DOCSIS 3.0, which adds capacity through channel bonding, and its more recent updates to DOCSIS 3.1 have obviated the need for the old congestion management system.

The vast majority of Comcast’s footprint has been upgraded to DOCSIS 3.0 or above. Comcast, ended Q1 2018 with about 90% of its footprint upgraded for 1-Gig and DOCSIS 3.1, and expects to complete that deployment by the end of 2018.

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Though Comcast’s congestion management system has been shut down, the company still employs data usage policies for its residential broadband service alongside an unlimited data option in most of its service areas (opens in new tab). Those plans do not apply to business internet customers or to Gigabit Pro, a residential FTTP product that delivers 2 Gbps symmetrical internet service.

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