Britain’s leading broadband providers have promised a new era of transparency about their controversial traffic management policies, under which they are throttling some customers’ internet connections.
Broadband providers, including BT and Virgin Media, have signed up to a new best practice code, under which they will give comparable information to consumers about the previously opaque area of traffic management.
Consumers’ growing appetite for bandwidth-hungry video services, such as the BBC iPlayer and Google’s YouTube, means telecoms companies are contending with an explosion of data traffic that is threatening to overwhelm their networks.
Broadband providers insist traffic management is necessary to avoid data congestion and ensure basic internet access. Some providers, for example, slow down customers’ broadband connections where they are involved in peer-to-peer file sharing at peak usage hours. But traffic management is controversial because supporters of net neutrality – the idea that all web traffic should be treated equally – claim telecoms companies are starting to create a two-tier internet.
Transparency is OK, but investment is better. How about plowing some of those profits back as investment so that users get what they pay for.