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Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is it "the end of the Internet as we know it" in the UK?

Slashdot has posted a summary of a doomsday for the British Internet, which may even understate the current problems. This is based largely on a shock-horror PCPro story in which the two biggest ISPs said that - as Ofcom is at least agnostic to a differential pricing business model and appears internally very sympathetic, that is antithetic to net neutrality - they will go ahead and charge content providers if they can get away with it (note that public service broadcasters don't much fancy paying, but no surprise there).

“We absolutely could see situations in which some content or application providers might want to pay BT for a quality of service above best efforts,” admitted BT’s Simon Milner at a recent Westminster eForum. “That is the kind of thing that we’d have to explain in our traffic management policies, and indeed we’d do so, and then if somebody decided, ‘well, actually I don’t want to have that kind of service’, they would be free to go elsewhere.” It gets worse. Asked directly at the same forum whether TalkTalk would be willing to cut off access completely to BBC iPlayer in favour of YouTube if the latter was prepared to sign a big enough cheque, TalkTalk’s Andrew Heaney replied: “We’d do a deal, and we’d look at YouTube and we’d look at BBC and we should have freedom to sign whatever deal works.”
My issue with this is [a] transparency, which BT acknowledges; [b] FRAND and discrimination concerns, see Heaney's comments, and [c] what minimum speed will the slow lane enjoy - which neither is addressing as that's the $64b question.
NOTE: this is 'hammer of the DEAct' BT and TalkTalk, not the much more aggressively anti-neutrality Virgin and Sky, let alone the charming mobiles!

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