Months after promising to implement a protocol-agnostic approach to web traffic management in accordance with FCC directives, Comcast is facing a new probe at the FCC. The Commission asked the cable operator on Sunday to justify its treatment of web traffic emanating from unaffiliated voice-over-Internet protocol (VoIP) operators which, according to the FCC, is handled in a disparate manner from Comcast’s own IP-based telephony service. Capping an investigation that was triggered by complaints from peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing service BitTorrent, the FCC determined last August that Comcast’s practice of “throttling” broadband-consumptive transmissions from BitTorrent and other P2P sites violated net neutrality principles adopted by the FCC in 2005. Although Comcast is seeking to overturn the FCC’s ruling at the DC Circuit, the company told the agency in September that it would cease its current P2P practices by the end of 2008 and shift to a new web traffic management system that assigns a lower priority to traffic generated by high-bandwidth users (regardless of the application used) so that “all customers get their fair share of bandwidth every hour of the day.” Sources say the FCC’s latest inquiry stems from a complaint filed last October by public interest concern Free Press, which has asked the FCC to launch an investigation into the discriminatory treatment of VoIP traffic on the Comcast cable network. Pointing to charges that Comcast is prioritizing web traffic generated by its own IP-based Digital Voice service over traffic generated by users of Vonage, Skype, and other unaffiliated VoIP providers, the FCC’s letter seeks “clarification with respect to an apparent discrepancy between Comcast’s [September] filing and its actual or advertised practices.” Citing language on the Comcast website indicating that Digital Voice is a separate, facilities-based IP phone service that is not covered by the web management policy reported to the FCC, the FCC also asked Comcast to “explain any reason the Commission should not treat Comcast’s VoIP offering as a telecommunications service—a service subject, among other things, to the same intercarrier compensation obligations applicable to other facilities-based telecommunications carriers.” The company is required to respond to the FCC’s inquiry by January 30. Defending her company, a Comcast spokeswoman asserted: “we have fully complied with the FCC’s order regarding our congestion management practices.”