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Ofcom Calls For More Transparency

David Gilbert


Ofcom Traffic management

Ofcom has previously called on internet service providers (ISPs) to bring advertised speeds more in line with real world speeds, and now the regulator is calling on ISPs to be more transparent in relation to traffic management.

Ofcom today set out the steps it expects Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to take to ensure customers are aware of how internet traffic is being managed on their networks.

Traffic management is used by ISPs to deal with congestion at peak times such as early evenings and ISPs slow down or accelerate the flow of traffic over the internet as the needs demand.

In general it is beneficial, and is used to protect such services as safety-critical traffic such as calls to the emergency services, but it can cause concern, if for example it is used by ISPs to target competing services, in a manner which is not visible to consumers, according to Ofcom.

Ofcom Traffic management

While we do get some information from some ISPs regarding traffic management, in Ofcom’s opinion the current system does not go far enough.

"How ISPs control access to the Internet affects us all and it is important that we are able to understand how our access might be restricted," Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards said. "Ofcom is now looking to the ISPs to ensure that transparent information is available, and will consider intervening if it does not see improvements."

Ofcom is recommending that ISPs make information available when selling the product, about the speed users should expect, the impact of traffic management, and whether any specific services would be blocked.

Traffic management is used by most large ISPs in the UK such as Virgin Media, BT and TalkTalk but not BSkyB who welcomed the call for full openness.

Are you affected by traffic management? Do you thinkthese recommendaitons by Ofcom will make any difference? Let us know in the comments.

Source: Ofcom


November 25, 2011, 2:59 pm

The only "traffic management" that used to affect me regularly was T-Mobile's limit of 300Kbps on their HSDPA service for any, all, and every data use!

Amusingly not even their call centre staff knew about that one (I told them I was leaving T-Mobile because of it and they insisted that it wasn't throttled until I pointed *them* to the section of the website explaining the throttle)

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