Comcast Getting 'Protocol Agnostic'

Leaked documents from the nation's largest cable operator apparently move faster than a Docsis 3.0 connection.

Multiple reports are citing an internal Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) memo stating that the operator is about to begin 30-day tests of its new "protocol agnostic" bandwidth capacity management platform with a small set of customers in Chambersburg, Pa., and Warrenton, Va. Comcast is expected to migrate all of its footprint to the end of the year after taking heat for its peer-to-peer (P2P) throttling policies. (See Comcast Caves In to P2P Pressure.)

Those select customers reportedly will be notified Wednesday (June 4) via email, with tests starting as early as Thursday.

Although short on technical details, the memo/notification email explains the system in much the same way Comcast SVP and CTO Tony Werner explained it to us at the recent The Cable Show:

"At the busiest times of the day on our network (which could occur at any time), those very few disproportionately heavy users, who are doing things like conducting numerous or continuous large file transfers, may experience slightly longer response times for some online activities, until the period of network congestion ends."

The email, which quotes Comcast online services GM Mitch Bowling, also notes that only "extremely heavy" Internet users will notice a change.

We've asked Comcast to elaborate on this latest bit, but, in the meantime, vendors are already lining up with new products or enhancements that could apply to the MSO's new approach. (See All's 'Fair' in Love & Bandwidth Management.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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