As FCC ruling demands Comcast do nothing differently...
Today, as expected, the FCC voted 3-2 to do absolutely nothing
to Comcast for the company's adventures in packet forgery. While the FCC ruling is being hailed as a victory by network neutrality advocates, and declares that Comcast willfully misled consumers about the throttling of P2P traffic, it creates no new guidelines, may not stand up in court, and ultimately doesn't ask the cable company to do anything they weren't already voluntarily doing.
Out of fear of new regulation, Comcast already promised to employ a "protocol agnostic" network management solution by the end of this year. In its current form, that includes a 250GB cap
and overage fees, increased enforcement of DMCA letter violations, and the specific throttling of high-consumption users back to "above DSL
" speeds. To keep critics at bay, Comcast will need to be very transparent about what triggers the throttling, for how long the throttling will occur, and what speeds throttled users will see.
We remain committed to fully disclosing all the details to all of our customers, once they are determined
-Comcast on new throttling technique
So far, Comcast hasn't announced those specifics because they're still in the process of determining them via real world network tests. In June, a leaked memo
indicated that Comcast had been testing their shiny new throttling system in the Chambersburg, Pennsylvania and Warrenton, Virginia markets since March.
"Once testing has been completed and a new management technique has been identified, we will publish a description of this new technique along with additional FAQs to benefit our customers prior to rolling it out nationally," the memo read. The memo also claimed that users will be notified in real time of the throttling "should this be necessary and technically practical."
Today a new memo indicates that the Company's tests have expanded into the Colorado Springs, Colorado and East Orange and Lake City Florida markets. "We expect to continue these trials for at least 30 days as we evolve the new protocol-agnostic network management technique," the statement notes.
I asked Comcast spokesman Charlie Douglas about the expansion, and whether Comcast was any closer to releasing specific data on the precise nature of the throttling.
"Yes, we are expanding the trials to get more data to determine the best solution," says Douglas. "Again, the goal is to migrate to a protocol-agnostic technique before the end of the year and we remain committed to fully disclosing all the details to all of our customers, once they are determined." According to Douglas, Comcast's goal is "to be as transparent as possible."