Friday, March 03, 2006


Is Comcast impairing Vonage?

On the one hand, the big telcos are chanting the mantram, "We shall not block, impair or degrade any content, service or application." On the other hand, they're saying, "There's no problem. We don't need a law until there's a problem."

Well, now. Mitch Shapiro over at IP & Democracy, points to Russell Shaw's post that says
I have been noticing a growing number of posts in which many Vonage users and Vonage Forum Members have been complaining about the quality of Vonage calls over Comcast broadband connections . . . something has happened. Two weeks ago, a Vonage Forum Member named rdstoll began a Vonage Forum thread called Comcast vs. Vonage. The last time I checked, this thread had 116 posts and nearly 7,000 page views. That's an exceptionally high number . . . many of these complaints are from Vonage users and Forum Members who have been around for awhile, and are more used to giving problem-solving advice in the Forum then venting about it . . . "

Comcast, of course, offers its own POTS-over-Cable telephone service. Could it be that they're trying to introduce a little motivation to switch? One commentator on Shaw's post says
It's definitely not just Vonage. Skype has become impossible to use on Comcast 3-4 month ago . . . My friend in the area with a much slower DSL connection has perfect VOIP quaility.

Comcast could do us all a favor now by getting really blatant. I hope the FCC and Congress are watching!

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As I blogged today, I can confirm the anecdotal evidence that skype service on comcast digital cable has degraded substantially over the past few months, making it pretty much useless. I invite any network geeks out there who have equipment or software they'd like me to run to measure how comcast treats different packets to contact me at oren [at] wifinder dot you-know-what so we can get some hard evidence to discuss at F2C.
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