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Without Net Neutrality UK ISPs Say It Would Be “Perfectly Normal Business Practice to Discriminate”

Phillip Dampier September 29, 2010 Net Neutrality, Public Policy & Gov't, TalkTalk (UK) No Comments

Heaney

While Federal Communications Chairman Julius Genachowski continues his indecisive dawdling over whether to enforce Net Neutrality in the United States, the United Kingdom’s two largest Internet Service Providers have openly admitted without such protections they would openly discriminate against content providers’ traffic.  In fact, discriminating against providers based on who paid and who didn’t would be a perfectly normal business practice for any ISP, they declared.

Senior executives of both BT and TalkTalk let the truth spill from their lips at a Westminster eForum on Net Neutrality, something companies like Verizon, Comcast, and AT&T surely wish they hadn’t done.

The surprisingly open dialogue was covered in detail by PCPro, and sent on to us by our reader “PreventCAPS”:

Asked specifically if TalkTalk would afford more bandwidth to YouTube than the BBC’s iPlayer if Google was prepared to pay, the company’s executive director of strategy and regulation, Andrew Heaney, argued it would be “perfectly normal business practice to discriminate between them”.

“We would do a deal and look at YouTube and look at the BBC, and decide,” he added.

When asked the same question, BT’s director of group industry policy, Simon Milner, replied: “We absolutely could see a situation when content or app providers may want to pay BT for quality of service above best efforts,” although he added BT had never received such an approach.

TalkTalk’s Heaney declared Net Neutrality a mythical concept, saying they already discriminate against traffic now that they have their foot in the door with “traffic management” policies.

“It’s a myth we have Net Neutrality today – we don’t,” he said. “There are huge levels of discrimination over traffic type. We prioritize voice traffic over our network. We shape peer-to-peer traffic and de-prioritize it during the busy hour.”

If British ISP’s are willing to discriminate against non-paying traffic on its networks, are American ISP’s going to act any differently?

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  • Scott: Perfectly example of why I still don't subscribe to cable or satellite. The only channel I *might* watch out of that entire lineup is Comedy Central....
  • James Cieloha: CableOne, Service Electric, GCI, Buckeye and other NCTC members are being forced by Viacom to add the Epix movie channels in order to carry the cable ...
  • Dave Hancock: I don't know where AP lives, but in MOST areas of the country MOST people do not have any choice for High Speed Internet (15mbps or above) - it is the...
  • tacitus: That doesn't sound right. Are you in some sort of contract? Where in the country is this?...
  • AP: Good luck cutting cable if you live in an area that has one cable, internet, and phone company like I do. If you want internet or phone with the cable...
  • Dave Hancock: Soon the rest of the cable companies will follow Verizon's lead and start limiting the input bandwidth to their systems (ex: Netflix) to discourage su...
  • Milan in Austin: Cable TV is an obsolete product! I suggest everyone seriously consider dropping cable television. I cut the cord in August of 2013, and don't miss ca...
  • gsuburban: I have to agree that Verizon is not interested in providing its customers with a "clear pipe" due to the politics of peer-to-peer data sharing or what...
  • Scott: Not good, that takes away all your leverage in the situation. If you're holding the money you can work through the BBB or try and negotiate with the ...
  • Hudson Mohawk Press: We knew it couldn't last forever. Starting this month Time Warner Cable of NYC is charging Earthlink Internet customers a $5.99 modem lease fee. The w...
  • Eric: Frontier still sucks..Their service still sucks..they are still a ripofff...
  • punki: Thanks Scott, unfortunately mine is already paid......

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