Belgian cable operator Telenet confirmed that it is currently experimenting with “traffic management” or “traffic shaping” methods.
This means that p2p file sharing applications will be slowed down by the ISP. While the company announced its decision to conduct tests, it declined to provide any info regarding a timeframe. It also said that all European countries should participate in the debate over net neutrality.
Meanwhile, Belgium is trying to figure out how to best implement European directives.
Exetel, a major Australian ISP, has announced that it may take a radical measure and ban p2p (peer-to-peer) network traffic during the first two hours of its ‘off-peak’ period, due to the habit of its subscribers who set their P2P downloads to go off at the very second the provider’s off-peak period starts, ITNews reports.
The period referred to is from 12am to 12pm and according to Exetel chief John Linton, the ban will be applied if a user “elects to make that an ‘off peak’ period”.
Linton also said that the company will offer users the possibility to choose the two-hour period as “peak”, being allowed access to p2p but costing them higher rates. His personal blog reads:
“The penalty for selecting that period as ‘free’ and then using it for P2P downloads will be the removal of the free period completely for that customer or termination of the service.”
An estimated supplementary cost in bandwidth per month (for the off-peak period) is around $150,000, says Linton who intends to restore the 12am to 12pm off-peak period in November. For now, Exetel has established its off-peak period to 10 hours to start at 2am instead of 12am “because we could never find a way of dealing with a relatively very small number of user’s obduracy and senselessness.”
Apparently BitTorrent Inc. has grown tired of having its torrents slowed down by Canadian ISPs and they thought it was about time they did something about it – the company sent a letter to the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC).
As NewTeeVee notes, BitTorrent Inc “has been offering its DNA services to content providers to help with the distribution of video games and other large files. DNA combines BitTorrent distribution with traditional, CDN-based file hosting. A DNA customer usually sees an average of 80 percent of its traffic facilitated via BitTorrent, according to the filing”. The problem is that, in Canada, the percentage plunges to 30 percent, which makes Canadian customers’ interest in P2P-supported CDN solutions greatly decrease.
Anyone who even casually followed the Comcast controversy knows the arguments of both sides by now: ISPs claim that P2P users are bandwidth hogs and that selective throttling measures help to maintain the overall health of the network. P2P vendors, on the other hand, claim that this amounts to unfair competition. Slowing down P2P-based video platforms while others can operate freely essentially favors some vendors while discriminating against others, they say.
Since Rogers and other ISPs have claimed that “BitTorrent is a 24/7 application that puts huge strains on networks by seeding files even when users aren’t in front of their PCs,” the p2p company disagrees saying that “the average BitTorrent client is only active around 4 days each month, or between 10-20% of the time.”
One of the delicate issue brought to the table by the ISPs is has been the behavior of BitTorrent clients, who, some say, use as much bandwidth as is available ignoring other applications or services. BitTorrent Inc. addressed the matter and has introduced a new protocol called uTP which has a much improved congestion control. Although at its release, toward the end of last year, it was received with much suspicion, the protocol proved in the end to be persuasive for the job it was designed to do. “[T]he eventual transition to uTP should have some very positive effects for the ISP community in the area of network congestion,” write the company in its filling confident in the plan to launch the service to all of its users.
The company denies accusations of having implemented bandwidth cap
As many have probably anticipated, following an alleged bandwidth cap enforced by local telecommunications firm Globe Telecom on P2P traffic, a wave of protests surfaced on the Internet. Reportedly, more than two hundred Globe Broadband subscribers have adhered to an online petition which aims at getting the cap dismissed.
According to the petition, Globe Telecom’s practice comes in violation of the principle of “network neutrality” or non-restriction of Internet content by using discriminatory control systems which allocate bandwidth to HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) and non-HTTP (p2p) sites.
That’s not the only allegation Globe was the target of – subscribers say the company also violates privacy issues since it employs deep packet inspection (DPI), which basically is a mechanism that describes system that checks all packets going through “checkpoints” to make an evaluation of security compliance of data.
“It is not fair for us to pay for a certain amount of bandwidth only to be cheated out of it by mechanisms such as this. If a subscriber pays for a 1mbps [megabits per second] connection, 1mbps of connection should be made available without limits or exceptions to how that subscriber chooses to utilize it,” the petition reads.
Globe Telecoms told INQUIRER it did not implement bandwidth cap, blaming the P2P traffic jam on “network activity” May 15.
Globe also pointed out that its network infrastructure would be evaluated and consequent measures taken if bandwidth abuses are discovered.
A case which in many aspects is similar to the Pirate Bay case is currently underway in Australia. Movies studios sued Australian internet provider iiNet but they’ve recently dropped the accusations of direct copyright infringement. But this doesn’t yet spell victory.
“Having wasted six months preparing a defense to the conversion charge, iiNet now has until Friday to enter its final defense. The remaining charges revolve around whether iiNet is liable for the actions of its users and their alleged copyright infringement,” writes Sydney Morning Herald.
This case has a great importance for Australian ISPS – if iiNet is found guilty for the actions of its customers, they too could share the same fate. Many file shares, on the other hand, have already taken their own measures to protect their identities by using anonymity services such as VPNs.
Since iiNet has vehemently opposed to the idea of implementing mandatory ISP filtering plans one can be sure that the government is also very interested in how this trial turns out. This is a great chance to finally force ISPs to block file-sharing traffic.