Packet inspection/traffic management

FCC Probes Comcast

11:50 AM -- The Associated Press is reporting that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a letter of inquiry about claims that Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) interferes with end-user traffic.

The inquiry comes months after Comcast was first charged with throttling peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic passing through its network. Last week at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), FCC commissioner Kevin Martin said that the regulatory agency would look into the claims. (See Comcast Takes on TorrentFreak, Comcast's P2P Problem, 2007 Top Ten: Cable Fables & Lessons Learned , and FCC Eyes Comcast's P2P Policies.)

Comcast, for its part, denies that it blocks any class of traffic. The company does admit to using traffic management tools but claims that their use falls under the FCC's guidelines for "reasonable network management."

It'll be interesting to see how this all plays out. If the FCC finds that Comcast's use of traffic management tools are "reasonable," then that opens up a whole new can of worms in the net neutrality debate. If not, it'll deliver a bit of a blow to companies like Sandvine Inc. , Allot Ltd. (Nasdaq: ALLT), and Ellacoya Networks Inc. -- at least in the North American market.

— Ryan Lawler, Reporter, Light Reading

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