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Ofcom: ISPs must come clean about traffic management, speed

Written by James Delahunty (Google+) @ 25 Nov 2011 6:31 User comments (2)

Ofcom: ISPs must come clean about traffic management, speed UK regulator orders broadband providers to tell all.
Ofcom has set out steps it expects Internet Service Providers in the UK to take, to make issues such as network traffic management as transparent as possible. ISPs use traffic management to deal with congestion, slowing down or speeding up the flow of traffic based on priority.

The regulator admits that in practice it is beneficial for the most part, being used, for example, to protect critical traffic such as emergency calls. However, Ofcom is concerned that ISPs could use the same management systems to target rivals' services.

It said that ISPs do not go far enough in providing information to consumers about how they manage traffic. If ISPs do not cooperate with Ofcom, it may use its powers to enforce a minimum level of consumer information under European framework.

It expects the ISPs should provide the following information to their customers:
  • Average speed information that indicates the level of service consumers can expect to receive;
  • Information about the impact of any traffic management that is used on specific types of services, such as reduced download speeds during peak times for peer-to-peer software; and
  • Information on any specific services that are blocked, resulting in consumers being unable to run the services and applications of their choice.
Terms used by ISPs to describe their services should also be clear.

In particular, a consumer paying for 'internet access' should expect this to include the full range of services available over the open internet. ISPs should not use the term 'internet access' to refer to a service that blocks lawfully available internet services.

Tags: Ofcom
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2 user comments

125.11.2011 7:18

I don't see a problem here. You should get what you pay for. My ISP advertises UP TO 10Mbps, but I never get that high. I'm lucky if I get 8Mbps. I'd rather see an average, but I'll probably never see such a thing happen in this year or the next in the US.

225.11.2011 8:12

This is the one thing I have been hoping they would do everywhere and not just for ISPs. Too many companies use deceptive advertising to sell their service. My ISP claim up to "7 Mega" (no definition of what "Mega" is, MB or Mb" and I am doing well to get 2.5 Mb. Unfortunately right now they are the only company that offers service in my area.

I see these problems with almost evey industry, hiding the true price or limits of their product/service untill you get to the payment page or after you pay. I find it really amazing how stupid companies are as this creates a great deal of hostiltiy toward their company and products but they still do it. It is much better if companies and industries police themselves, but unfortunately there are some CEOs that only care about short term stock price not long term survival. It's a mtter of perspective, CEOs woh work in the best interest of the company VS CEOs who work in the best interest of the stockholders. Quick profit VS long term profits.

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