Policy + charging

Cox Defends Net Management

Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has drawn the most of the attention for its peer-to-peer (P2P) bandwidth management practices, but, as you might recall, the alleged throttling practices of Cox Communications Inc. were also placed under the spotlight of scrutiny last month following the release of a study conducted by the Max Planck Institute in Germany. (See Study Alleges a Cox Block on P2P Traffic.)

Unlike Comcast, Cox isn't the subject of an Federal Communications Commission (FCC) investigation into its bandwidth management practices, but it appears that Cox is taking a proactive approach in communicating its policies to the agency.

A recent ex parte reveals that several Cox execs, including Cox Communications president Patrick Esser, met separately with FCC officials, including three Commissioners (Michael J. Copps, Deborah Taylor Tate, and Robert McDowell), on June 18 to provide an update on Cox's broadband deployment efforts.

Cox, which has 3.8 million high-speed subs, stressed that it uses "reasonable network management practices," as detailed in its acceptable use policy.

"Cox allows the use of file-sharing and peer-to-peer services for uploads and downloads, and we allow access to all legal content, but we noted to the Commissioners that we must manage the traffic impact of peer-to-peer services, as most Internet service providers do, for the benefit of the customer," the MSO notes in the ex parte.

The MSO added that it also continues "to seek even better ways to manage our network to ensure a high-quality experience for our customers."

Cox didn't detail any other options it might be weighing, so time will tell if it opts to try out a "protocol agnostic" approach Comcast is vetting. Comcast has field trials underway in two markets, with a third, Colorado Springs, set to come online later this summer. If all goes well, Comcast is expected to have the new system installed across the board by year-end. (See Comcast Getting 'Protocol Agnostic', Comcast Ready to Test New Traffic Cop, and Comcast Caves In to P2P Pressure.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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