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As more sophisticated tools for traffic shaping are unveiled, the question soon becomes which service providers aren't throttling customer traffic

Adding itself to the small-but-growing list of ISPs that admit to traffic shaping, Canada-based Bell Sympatico has confessed to using “traffic management” on heavy users “during peak hours.”

“We are now using a Internet Traffic Management to restrict accounts,” wrote an unnamed forum administrator on Bell Sympatico’s support forums. According to the administrator, Bell Sympatico’s traffic shaping affects an unmentioned number of applications and protocols, including BitTorrent, Gnutella, Limewire, Kazaa, eDonkey, eMule and WinMX.

A Bell Sympatico Manager chimed in immediately afterwards, explaining that “there continues to be phenomenal growth of consumer Internet traffic throughout the world” and that “Bell is using Internet Traffic Management to ensure we deliver bandwidth fairly to our customers during peak Internet usage.”

According to the Manager, the bandwidth cap was introduced sometime last year and “doesn't affect the vast majority of [Bell’s] customers.” One concerned user asked if the traffic management will be removed as network capacity increases, to which the administrator replied that he “can’t answer this question,” and noted that it would be decided as the issue arises.

Internet service providers have found themselves under an increasing burden as bandwidth-intensive internet services like online video and file-sharing have proliferated. While the true volume is unknown, many think that 30%-50% of all internet traffic is P2P-related, with a recent survey from traffic-management company Ipoque pushing that number towards an astonishing 90%.

In response to this, many providers have employed a variety of techniques to limit customers who are deemed to be using more than their “fair share,” a tactic that has been the subject of much debate as part of the controversy surrounding “network neutrality.”

While traffic shaping is by far the most common, a few companies have employed more exotic methods: Comcast is thought to impose an invisible 600 GB bandwidth limit on its “unlimited” internet service, and a recent study conducted by the AP found that the ISP impersonates BitTorrent clients for the purposes of interfering with their connections.



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Network neutrality is important
By derdon on 11/11/2007 6:50:37 PM , Rating: 1
It's totally important to stick to net neutrality (even if this would mean regulations)!! There's a whole lot of shitty consequences once we allow ISPs to determine what information we can achieve faster and which slower. For an information society this would be death!

So in this case, I'd suggest following: Instead of limiting just P2P (at the ISP), limit the whole account and all of his traffic. Let the user decide to limit himself (at the client) in his P2P traffic or let him suffer the whole consequences (slower HTTP, EMail, FTP,... as well).

But of course, before any of that is actually implemented, this first _needs to be written down in the TOS_. I guess most people would understand that they're not guaranteed to get full bandwidth 24/7 (and most people don't need that either). State in the TOS for how long in what time period are you guaranteed to get the bandwidth. Those who want full speed 24/7, no problem, but it'll be more expensive. So there's more cash for the ISPs exactly from those who cause more expense and they don't need to get the money off msn to slow down google and yahoo instead.




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