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Comcast, Zoom Settle Dispute Over Modem Certification

Comcast and Zoom Telephonics jointly filed a request Tuesday with the Federal Communications Commission to dismiss Zoom's complaint about the cable operator's certification testing requirements for modems sold at retail, after the two companies reached a settlement on the issue.

Terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

In a joint statement they said, "Comcast and Zoom believe that the resolution of their dispute benefits both companies and furthers consumer choice in the cable modem marketplace. Comcast and Zoom look forward to working together in the future."

In its original complaint in November 2010, Zoom said Comcast's physical and environmental testing requirements were an "unreasonable, irrelevant, time-consuming and costly regime" for certifying cable modems and raised the specter of Comcast abusing its position as the No. 1 cable operator in the U.S. by violating the FCC's "open Internet" principles.

Comcast had responded that it "is within its rights to ensure that the DOCSIS device, which directly interacts with the network, is not harmful either to the network or to consumers, and does not otherwise impair the service," and said Zoom refused the MSO's offer to let it conduct testing in Zoom's own labs.

In addition, the cable company disputed Zoom's assertion that the physical and environmental test requirement violated the FCC's rules for navigation device rules because DOCSIS devices "are not subject to the navigation device rules," and maintained the procedures were consistent with the agency's open Internet principles.

Comcast also had pointed out that former FCC chairman Kevin Martin -- who had a reputation for pursuing an anti-cable agenda -- is one of the lead attorneys with the law firm Patton Boggs, which represented Zoom in the matter.