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Comcast and Vonage collaborate on network management

Comcast and Vonage are working together to ensure that Vonage's Internet phone service works over Comcast's network.

Talk about an odd couple. Cable giant Comcast said Wednesday that it will work with Vonage to help ensure Vonage's Internet phone service works well over its broadband network.

The Comcast/Vonage alliance follows other similar announcements made with other Internet companies, as the cable operator tries to convince customers that it's not looking to kill competitive services that run over its network.

Last year, Comcast was discovered slowing down peer-to-peer traffic on its network. At first the company denied it was filtering traffic. Then it admitted it had slowed down some types of traffic to manage congestion on its network. Net Neutrality proponents and consumer advocates were outraged and feared Comcast's actions were attempts to control content flowing over its network.

The outcry against Comcast has been so strong, that the company said it would work with peer-to-peer companies BitTorrent and Pando Networks to find new ways to manage its traffic. And in March, it said that it would move to a protocol agnostic network management solution by the end of the year. And in June it began testing a network management system that will slow down during times of congestion for heavy bandwidth users regardless of the application they are using.

"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" Tony Werner, Comcast Chief Technology Officer, said in a statement.

But what makes the alliance with Vonage interesting is that Vonage is a direct competitor to Comcast. Vonage sells a voice over IP phone service that competes directly with Comcast's own VoIP phone service.

"Although we're competitors 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," Louis Mamakos, Vonage Chief Technology Officer, said in a statement.