The internet service provider has been under investigation for blocking file-sharing among subscribers, but announced a change of heart today, promising to treat all apps equally — but they'll still slow down traffic for customers who consume larger amounts of bandwidth than others.
Since user reports of interference with file-sharing traffic were confirmed by an Associated Press investigation in October, Comcast has been vigorously defending its practices, most recently at a hearing of the Federal Communications Commission in February.
Consumer and "Net Neutrality" advocates have been equally vigorous in their attacks on the company, saying that by secretly blocking some connections between file-sharing computers, Comcast made itself a judge and gatekeeper for the Internet.
They also accused Comcast of stifling delivery of Internet video, an emerging competitor to the cable company's core business.
Comcast has said that its practices were necessary to keep file-sharing traffic from overwhelming local cable lines, where neighbors share capacity with one another. On Thursday, Comcast said that by the end of the year, it will move to a system that manages capacity without favoring one type of traffic over another.
Update: here's a press release issued by Comcast about a hollow, face-saving, baloney-scented deal with BitTorrent announced today. The bit about "a capacity management technique that is protocol agnostic" effectively means that heavy P2P users will still be throttled, they just won't be identified by protocol.
Previously on Boing Boing: