We're big fans of Virgin Media's blazingly fast cable broadband service but in recent weeks its star has been falling and now it has just come crashing to earth with a thud.
Following its controversial (and misplaced) plans to partner with the BPI to track down and ban its customers using illegal P2P software - despite the European parliament rejecting the issue - Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett has now declared war on net neutrality!?!
Speaking with the Royal Television Society's 'Television' magazine Berkett explained that "this net neutrality thing is a load of bollocks" and admitted the ISP is in talks with undisclosed content providers to have their content delivered faster to Virgin customers than others. Now hold on, it gets more outlandish yet... Berkett then went even further threatening public service broadcasters who choose not to pay Virgin Media a fee saying they risk having their content throttled!
I'll take a minute here because it's hard to get my anger in check my brain is spinning. Essentially what we have is an ISP trying to destroy the very point of the Internet: that information be equally available to all without bias and censorship. Hey Neil why don't we just go down the China route and start blocking access to Evil Western sites like YouTube or the BBC - that would certainly speed things up.
No, at the end of the day the argument is far more simple. ISPs are looking to further renege on the 'Unlimited' packages they sell to consumers because as the web evolves the content becomes richer and the bandwidth required becomes larger. This costs ISPs more and with their margins already low they are looking for a way to weasel out, whether it be throttling iPlayer or 'prioritising' paid content.
Neil if I had a glove I would slap you with it, but only on the condition it contained a brick...
Someone please bring back Steve Burch - all is forgiven.