Comcast reveals new brake plans
August 22, 2008
Comcast Corporation says it plans to slow service to its heaviest Internet users during periods of congestion after regulators ordered the company to devise a new method for managing its Web traffic.
Top Internet speeds for the heaviest users will be reduced for 10 to 20 minutes at a time to keep service to other users flowing, said Mitch Bowling, Comcast's senior vice president and general manager for online services.
A heavy Comcast Web user being impeded would have Internet speeds equivalent to “a really good DSL experience,” Bowling said. After a slowdown ended, Comcast would return Internet service to normal.
Comcast, which calls the new system fair share, will fine-tune it further before introducing it, Bowling said. In trials, Comcast has found the fair-share system to be effective if the slowing lasted for “roughly between, probably, 10 and 20 minutes,”Bowling said. Comcast has about 14.4 million Internet users.
“We're going to really have to see all the detail and have all the information,” said Marvin Ammori, a lawyer for Free Press, which promotes universal access to communications and filed the complain with the FCC along with Public Knowledge