Cox Wraps Internet Congestion-Management Test
Operator Plans to Submit Findings to FCC as Part of Network-Neutrality Rulemaking Process
By Todd Spangler 10/15/2009 2:25:55 PM

Cox Communications has completed an eight-month test in its Kansas/Arkansas market of a bandwidth-management system designed to reduce upstream congestion, and plans to submit its findings to the Federal Communications Commission as part of the agency's proposed rulemaking on network neutrality.

"We are still analyzing the data from the trial," Cox director of media relations David Grabert said. He added that the operator is no longer managing traffic based on application type in Kansas/Arkansas and has no plans to deploy the congestion-management system right now.

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski last month proposed establishing network-neutrality principles as enforceable rules, to prevent Internet service providers from discriminating against specific content or applications, while allowing for "reasonable" network management. Genachowski expects to initiate the rulemaking action next week at the agency's public meeting.

During Cox's test, the operator gave priority to time-sensitive Internet traffic -- such as Web pages, voice calls, streaming videos and gaming -- during times of peak congestion. Less time-sensitive traffic, such as file uploads and peer-to-peer file transfers, could have been "momentarily" delayed if the network was congested. Cox was applying the policy only to upstream Internet traffic, and only to residential broadband customers.

The operator on Thursday updated the FAQ section on its Web site about the trial to inform customers that it has completed the test and currently does not have plans to deploy the system at this time.

Cox has not disclosed which system or systems it tested. For its part, Comcast has deployed Sandvine's bandwidth-management platform as part of moving to a protocol-agnostic approach to cutting congestion on its broadband networks.

Last month, Cox increased the maximum data-usage limits for broadband customers, including more than doubling the limit for its popular Preferred package to 200 Gigabytes per month.