The FCC is querying Comcast about possible compromises in the quality of its VoIP service. The Commission has detected an apparent discrepancy between how the provider describes the quality of its VoIP service to the FCC versus what it tells potential customers.
Comcast’s VoIP service is facilities-based, as opposed to being carried on the Internet at large (as is Vonage’s, for example), and Comcast claims publicly that its call quality is subsequently unaffected by network congestion.
Comcast recently supplied a document to the FCC that appears to contradict that, however. The FCC letter reads: “Comcast notes that if a consumer uses 70 percent of his provisioned bandwidth for 15 minutes or more, that consumer loses priority when routing packets through congested portions of the network.”
According to the FCC letter, Comcast explained that under those circumstances, should that subscriber make a VoIP call, “that customer may find that his ‘VoIP call sounds choppy’.”
From the FCC’s standpoint, Comcast appears to imply to consumers that Internet-based VoIP is subject to problems associated with excessive traffic, while facilities-based VoIP is not; but at the same time, Comcast tells the FCC that facilities-based VoIP is, in fact, subject to traffic-induced quality compromises.
The FCC is giving Comcast until the end of the month to clarify.
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