Does Comcast give its own internet phone service special treatment compared to VoIP competitors who use the ISP’s network? That’s basically the question that the Federal Communications Commission posed in a letter sent to the cable giant on Jan. 18, Ars Technica reports. The agency has asked Comcast to provide "a detailed justification for Comcast’s disparate treatment of its own VoIP service as compared to that offered by other VoIP providers on its network." The latest knock on the door comes from FCC Wireline Bureau Chief Dana Shaffer and agency General Counsel Matthew Berry. In September, Comcast complied with FCC demands that it mend its peer-to-peer traffic-throttling ways and come up with a different approach to network management. This it has done, setting up a complex, "shallow packet" inspection system that occasionally de-prioritizes users based not on the kinds of protocols they’re accessing, but on the amount of congestion in their immediate area, plus the amount of bandwidth they’re gobbling up themselves. But in reviewing Comcast’s explanation of this new system, the FCC has noticed something that it finds fishy: Comcast acknowledges that, for de-prioritized users, "… a VoIP call sounds choppy." This potential choppiness stands in contrast, the FCC contends, to Comcast’s own VoIP product, Comcast Digital Voice (CDV), a difference that Comcast discloses on its FAQ Network Management page…

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