Comcast Set to Manage Web Traffic by Prioritizing Subscribers

Comcast Corp on Friday provided further details on how it will manage Web traffic without blocking applications or content.

The new method of managing Web traffic may result in slower connections for customers who use their cable modem the most. However, the company said it has not received any customer complaints during its trial runs.

“Customers will still be able to do anything they want to online, and many activities will be unaffected, but they could experience things like: longer times to download or upload files, surfing the Web may seem somewhat slower, or playing games online may seem somewhat sluggish,” Comcast said in a statement.

Internet service providers have seen rapid growth and higher bandwidth demands for online video streaming, music downloads, photo-sharing and peer-to-peer services. As a result, most providers have experienced higher network demands and congestion periods.

Comcast says the new software which manages Web traffic does not block applications such as BitTorrent, but is based on customer priority.

For instance, the software is designed to give all subscribers a “fair share” of bandwidth. During high volume traffic periods, the software will determine which subscribers are using the most bandwidth. It will then temporarily set those subscribers a lower priority status.

When a cable subscriber is assigned a lower priority status, its traffic would be delayed when there’s network congestion or during high volume peak times.

Under its current system, Comcast blocks or delays file-sharing applications to avoid network congestion. The new system will replace the current one in December.