Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Broadband Providers "Not So Fair Use" Violates Net Neutrality

A couple of articles have been published recently describing how broadband providers are managing their traffic to their advantage and to the detriment of specific services. The BBC has published an article describing how BT throttles the bandwidth on its broadband service and degrades the quality of the BBC iPlayer at certain times of the day. The second is a Light Reading article describing the results of femto cell testing by Epitiro that shows that traffic management by broadand providers will negatively affect the performance of femto cells during peak traffic periods.

The BBC has identified a clause in BT's fair use policy that permits it to reduce the bandwidth on its broadband service to below 1 Mbps, which degrades the quality of the BBC iPlayer over the top IPTV service. The article cites an example of a user who has been affected by this policy.

The traffic analysis performed by Epitiro shows that some broadband providers are throttling IPSEC traffic so that it provides worse performance that best efforts Internet traffic at the same time.

These are the kind of situations that those promoting the Net Neutrality agenda are concerned about. In both cases the broadband providers are throttling the traffic of competitors. The BBC iPlayer competes with BT's BT Vision IPTV service. Femto cells will compete with the broadband provider's VoIP and POTS services. The broadband providers are building the case for Net Neutrality when they do this and will produce a regulatory reaction that they will not like at all.

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