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
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.
While we do get some information from some ISPs regarding
traffic management, in Ofcom’s opinion the current system does not go far
“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
Are you affected by traffic management? Do you thinkthese recommendaitons by Ofcom will make any difference? Let us know in the comments.