Broadband Throttling: ISPs warned by Ofcom

By Gary Johnson - Nov 25, 2011

This year there has been much talk about the service that many consumers are getting from their ISPs regarding their broadband service. Back in the summer it was reported that many customers were not getting the speeds they were originally promised when first signing up to a company. Today with regards to broadband throttling ISPs have been warned by Ofcom to be clearer.

The regulator has told companies they must be clearer to their customers about how they restrict traffic. According to ZDNet if the ISPs don’t improve they will be forced to by Ofcom, and again they have stressed that customers should be told what average speed they will get when they sign up in the first place.

Ofcom have said that generally traffic management is beneficial when used, and can protect more important traffic to the likes of the emergency services. It is not always the case though if it is used to hit competing services, especially if it “is not visible to consumers”.

Mobile and fixed broadband providers can have traffic management rules in place, but unfortunately not all customers are made aware of them. It is often used to help congestion during peak times for instance when video services are prioritized over mail services during these busy times.

They did agree though that some ISPs do provide some information, as back in March the likes of BT, O2, Three, Virgin Media, Vodafone, Sky, and TalkTalk have agreed to a voluntary code of practice to be more clearer on their polices.

But Ofcom have said that the information “does not go far enough and needs to be made clearer and easier to understand“. The table of traffic management information, Key Facts Indicator, is only understandable to the more “technically savvy” consumers.

To be easier to understand Ofcom suggests the companies should tell customers how any traffic management policies will affect them such as download speeds for P2P services during busy times. Does your connection often fall fail of throttling?

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