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1/7/2009
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Comcast Removes Blocks On File Sharing

The cable provider said it's no longer degrading service for peer-to-peer Internet sites.

Comcast has notified the U.S. Federal Communications Commission that it no longer degrades service to slow or block peer-to-peer applications.

The company sent a letter to the FCC on Monday stating that, as of Dec. 31, it no longer manages its networks the way it did when advocacy groups filed a complaint last year. The company's former critics praised Comcast for the change.

"We're pleased with the development and hope Comcast will respect the concept of the open Internet," Art Brodsky, communications director of Public Knowledge, said in a statement.

The changes in network traffic management reflect a compliance plan that Comcast filed in September in response to formal complaints that the company's practices violated the FCC's Internet Policy Statement and did not constitute "reasonable network management."

"Comcast will continue to refine and optimize these congestion management practices to deliver the best broadband experience for customers, and we will continue to provide customers with clear, concise, and useful information about the services we provide," Kathryn Zachem, VP of regulatory and state legislative affairs for Comcast, said in the Jan. 5 letter to the FCC. "We will continue to work hard to deliver a world-class service that gives all of our subscribers access to the content, applications, and services that they demand."

Comcast has taken a series of steps to move toward a protocol-agnostic method of network management, which handles traffic without regard to the source, content, and applications moving across its networks. The company also has published an explanation of its network management practices on its Web site.

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