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:
*Is Comcast really blocking P2P? EFF + SF Weekly conclude: yeah.
*FCC may do-over Comcast Net Neutrality hearing due to presence of paid Comcastards
*UPDATE: Comcast paid for people to fill seats at FCC Net Neutrality hearing
*Comcast also screwing with Gnutella and Lotus Notes (!?!)
*Comcast actively blocks P2P traffic
*(BB-Gadgets) AT&T to Filter Internet Traffic; Comcast Investigated by FCC for Filtering Internet Traffic
*How the AP busted Comcast for blocking BitTorrent
*EFF proves Comcast is screwing with BitTorrent, releases instructions for testing your own ISP
*Why Comcast's BitTorrent-fux0r is bad for quality of service
* Modest proposal for Comcast's net-filtering
Just what we needed, said exactly no one.
* whether they deserve one or not
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