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Comcast: We've stopped throttling speeds for heavy internet users, for now

Comcast says it's ended its practice of slowing traffic for heavy internet users but reserves the right do it again.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Video: Net Neutrality is gone. Welcome to the Biased Net.

Internet service provider Comcast says it no longer needs to throttle speeds for heavy internet users, ending a network-management technique it's been using since 2008.

Comcast announced it has switched off a system it's used for the past decade to manage network congestion.

The company said improvements to its networks and more modern browsers now mean it doesn't face the same congestion problems.

"As reflected in a June 11, 2018 update to our Xfinity Internet Broadband Disclosures, the congestion-management system that was initially deployed in 2008 has been deactivated," Comcast said.

"As our network technologies and usage of the network continue to evolve, we reserve the right to implement a new congestion management system if necessary in the performance of reasonable network management and to maintain a good broadband internet access service experience for our customers, and will provide updates here as well as other locations if a new system is implemented."

SEE: Sensor'd enterprise: IoT, ML, and big data (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

A Comcast spokesperson told CNET that the congestion-management system has not been used for over 12 months and that it was now formalizing the situation by updating its disclosures.

"Our network and consumer devices have evolved to a point that our old congestion-management system is no longer necessary. The system has been essentially inactive for more than a year," Comcast said.

"With well over 99 percent of our internet customers using more modern DOCSIS gateways and modems, congestion on individual channels is no longer an issue that needs to be managed.

"We took the opportunity to formalize this change while we were updating our other customer disclosures."

As noted by Ars Technica, the broadband provider activated the system in 2008 after it was caught throttling BitTorrent traffic. The system allowed Comcast to slow down heavy users rather than a specific type of traffic.

Comcast's new disclosure came as the FCC on Monday officially rolled back Obama-era net neutrality requirements for broadband providers.

The new rules do require providers to disclose network-management practices and details about performance.

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