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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) Comments Off

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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  • Ernesto Honez: Was that a confirmed and signed "contract"? Was it verbal? Was it sent out in a letter as bulk mailing, or with a first class stamp? Was it's delivery...
  • Matt: I just got off the phone with AT&T. I called saying that I found a promotion through Time Warner for $34.99 for 15 mbps and I am trying to cut dow...
  • Phillip Dampier: It first went to a handful of test markets in upstate New York (not Rochester) and then has been redesignated as a feature enhancement in Maxx markets...
  • Steve Rea: Any idea when the new DVR is coming to Rochester? I remember a story you posed over 2 years ago from the CEO of TWC at the time! saying it was comi...
  • AustinTX: James, my suggestion would be to switch to TWC rental modems, and fry 2-3 of them over the course of several weeks by running 24v AC into the coax con...
  • Dragos: For 1Gbps in Romania we pay around 12 EUR (VAT included - 24%). http://www.rcs-rds.ro/internet-digi-net/fiberlink?t=internet-fix&pachet=digi_ne...
  • James R Curry: Hey, Phillip - While not related to Comcast directly -- I rent my modem from TWC, and while I'd rather buy one outright, there's one big factor ...
  • Sean: I believe that there are issues intermixing DOSCIS 2/3 modems on a node. It's been about 5 years since I've worked with a CMTS so I am by no means an...
  • AustinTX: Yep, this isn't about "your old modem isn't capable of the wonderful new speeds we're providing to your service tier", it's about "we know your custom...
  • MJ Lee: This is strange. I did get a letter from Time Warner saying my apartment was qualified for Time Warner Cable Maxx, but when I applied for it, I got an...
  • Tim: You know this is overstating the case ... unlimited data adsl2 plans are available from $60 in Australia. Average price is about $90...
  • Phillip Dampier: I think 10/Gbps is available in the USA as well, on an obscenely expensive metro Ethernet or commercial fiber link provisioned by a telecom company. ...

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