Ofcom Calls For More Transparency

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

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