"Comcast does not block access to Vonage or any other providers of Internet traffic," said Jeanne Russo, Comcast corporate communications director for high-speed Internet and digital voice communications.
Russo's comments came in response to recent allegations posted on an unofficial Vonage member forum. One forum thread, dubbed Comcast vs. Vonage, has been garnering increasing attention and traffic as of late.
"According to a long standing thread on the Vonage Forums, many Comcast ISP users are unable to use Vonage — tempers are flaring," a Slashdot member recently noted. "Although you will see all manner of opinions on this thread, there seems to be a sentiment that — politely put — Comcast could really be doing a better job of carrying Vonage bits."
"Comcast is doing their own VoIP service in some areas now ... considering they have a competing product at a higher price ... well, you can be the judge on it," one Vonage user commented on the Vonage vs. Comcast thread.
"VoIP from 'independents' like Vonage is a threat to the ISP industry because they are 'yet another bandwidth hog' making flat rate Internet access harder to provide due to increasing bandwidth demands," another Vonage member posted on the member forum. "They are also a threat to the local telcos, as they are direct competitors."
The posted comments address a growing number of complaints regarding connection quality of Vonage's VoIP telephone service, particularly in areas where Comcast offers broadband access. Vonage representatives, however, said they haven't noticed problems.
"To my knowledge, these rumors are hearsay," said a spokesperson for Vonage.
Comcast says that it has been working with Vonage to investigate the situation, and that the independent VoIP provider indicated the problem was an isolated issue on their end and had nothing to do with the Comcast connection.
However, consumers still seem wary — especially with major issues like net neutrality hitting the mainstream media headlines.
According to Vonage officials, the main issue in the net neutrality debate is about who will control innovation and competition on the Internet.
"Because Vonage competes directly with the telephone service of the network operators that also provide high-speed Internet access, the incentives to discriminate against us are clear," said Jeffrey Citron, Vonage Chairman and CEO, during a recent Senate hearing on Net Neutrality. "Most recently, major phone company executives seem to suggest that our service isn't going to work as well if we don't pay them additional fees."
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