Comcast and Vonage have surprised many in the industry with the announcement of a plan to work together on network management of their respective products and services.
The companies acknowledge that they compete directly in the VoIP market, but Comcast has consistently claimed that it does not interfere with other vendors' applications, although it does block BitTorrent traffic.
"This agreement helps Vonage to ensure that customers have the best possible internet experience," said Louis Mamakos, chief technology officer at Vonage.
"Although we compete with Comcast, this understanding helps our two companies work together to balance the needs of network management with consumers' ability to freely access the services, applications and content of their choice."
Comcast has already signed similar deals with BitTorrent and Pando Networks, as well as joined in the P4P Working Group organised by the Distributed Computing Industry Association.
Comcast is currently facing a legal challenge over its initial decision to throttle BitTorrent traffic, and some speculate that these partnerships are designed to show good faith before the legal cases are decided.
Another line of thought is that Comcast is preparing a move on the issue of net neutrality by developing a system that can channel different forms of traffic in different ways.
This, of course, would allow variable pricing policies to be assigned to different types of application.
"This collaboration with Vonage, and our outreach to many key participants in the internet community, demonstrate that we are committed to provide network management solutions that benefit consumers and competition," said Tony Werner, chief technology officer at Comcast.
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