back to article Ofcom wades into UK 'Net Neutrality' row

Ofcom has reportedly warned broadband providers that it plans to probe how they manage their web traffic and give “preferential” treatment to some media owners. The communications watchdog said yesterday it would launch a consultation into ‘Net Neutrality’ concerns raised in the past few months, reports the Financial Times. …


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  1. Anonymous Coward


    What is Ed Richards talking about?

    So if the Premier League strikes a deal with Virgin to show the goals - that's discrimination? Do they have to give the clips away to everyone who asks, on a compulsory basis? It's a private contract, the regulator has no business interfering. But then Net Neutrality was invented by a bunch of leftie schoolkids.

    The Tories can't abolish OFCOM soon enough. Goodbye, Ed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Big Brother

      you need to read the report again

      the point the article was making was about service providers slowing trafic down frm content providers. for example BT internet slowing down trafic from bbc iplayer taccross its network.

      if you cant watch bbc iplayer because its slow and unwatchable, but BT vision gets the full speed ahead it is definitely unfair for the consumer

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge


      Virgin's competitors get a chance to compete against them to buy the rights to the football.

      But if BT decide that they are going to block (sorry mange bandwith) of media company "A", but not of media company "B", how does company A compete? Does company "A" now need to roll-out their own broadband service, just so that they can sell their own media?

      If everything is a private contract, I hope that you are not going to cry when BT decide that your house is uneconomic to provide a service to, and you get your electricity, water and gas cut off for similar reasons.

    3. TeeCee Gold badge

      There's FAIL there alright.

      But not by them.

      What they're talking about here is whether or not Virgin are allowed to prioritise the sending of said goal clips to their customers over other traffic on their, or anyone elses, network.

      If you're the one downloading 200gigs of <COUGH> "Linux distributions", you'd probably say no. If you're a football fan living next door your opinion may differ depending on the backhaul contention rates behind the scenes.

    4. Jon 52


      The main worry for ISPs is if they lose net netutrality they change from a service provider to an editor and therefore liable for evreything sent over their network.

  2. sandman


    There isn't a clash of opinions here, the BBC may cut half its static websites, but can foresee delivering most of its broadcast material over the net - not the same thing at all. It will give me a good excuse to get that 27 inch monitor (so I can work on multiple documents of course).

  3. Dan 10


    “It is essential that those who have the means to do this are properly regulated to ensure that consumers continue to benefit from content and services, and innovation on the web.”

    What, you mean like open-source RTMP?

  4. PhonicUK

    Dumb bit-pipes.

    I just wish that the role of ISPs would be reduced down to dumb bit-pipes, where I (the consumer) simply pay for access - and I can shove whatever I want down it.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    Usless Com(s)

    Anyone else even bother with this stuff?

    Seems to me that policy is made by people who have no basis in real life or are so corrupt its amazing they are still able to look in a mirror.

    Truth told it's all about who has the most money now anyway, anyone remember the game Syndicate on the Amiga.. ?

    Just have to make sure no cyborgs with mini guns wandering the streets when I go out late at night...

    Only a matter of time before we are told to burn books I suspect.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Somebody call a mathematician

    "it would effectively halve its internet output by axeing 50 per cent of its websites by 2012" is ludicrous. Cutting web sites that have no/little demand, doesn't halve internet output.

    1. tomjol

      Definition of "output"

      It seems likely that the Beeb is referring to the actual content it spits out, not how much outgoing traffic there is from their web servers. A page with no demand is still a page which has to be written.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'd imagine

        The bandwidth cost of streaming a popular show to all the Iplayer viewers far outweighs the cost of writing and serving static pages.

        Most of the beebs pages seem to be some sort of website by numbers anyway, so the design is uniform and one would only need to know basic html (if any) to write the actual content.

    2. Richard IV


      The only way that could happen is if everyone had a private line that didn't ever touch anyone else's. As soon as contention is thrown into the mix, the dumbness has to go as well, otherwise plain old browsing ends up suffering when you're unlucky enough to share an exchange with binge downloaders.

      Think of the ways you could use up a per month download quota - use it all in a couple of days, use it fairly constantly, etc etc.

      Personally I thought BTs alleged shenanigans with regards iPlayer were a bit off on account of them targeting that specifically; to be fair they should have throttled all streaming traffic so that all were affected equally.

      1. Anonymous Coward


        is just a lame excuse trotted out by ISPs to justify selling something that they haven't got.

        If I'm paying for my connection, I expect to be able to use it for what I want, not have it throttled because they sold the same bandwidth to 8 different people.

        If I sold the same car to 8 different people, I'd be prosecuted for fraud. I don't see this as any different.

      2. Jerome 0
        Thumb Down


        "The only way that could happen is if everyone had a private line that didn't ever touch anyone else's."

        Rubbish. Sell me my connection on the guaranteed bandwidth I can get from it, and then give me extra speed above and beyond that if there's any going spare.

  7. VespertineStar
    Thumb Down

    Prioritise giving me a stable connection, I'll decide what goes up and down it.

    I don't see why anything should be prioritised over anything else coming down my line. I'm intelligent enough to manage my own bandwidth thank you very much. If a company doesn't have enough bandwidth to provide both services at the same time then they should sod off and leave it to someone who can.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So, we'll be living in an IP world

    What he seems to be suggesting is a future where absolutely everything that delivers media content is delivered over IP. Eventually, TVs will just be new fangled computers connected to an IP network (they're already morphing into that) and presumably the spectrum used by TV at the moment freed up for the same.

  9. ElFatbob
    Thumb Down

    more like

    The beeb are angling for the extension / expansion of licence fee to ensure that anyone with a broadband connection pays the tax.

    The Biased Brodcasting Corporation should be dismantled. End of.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up

      IP Radio

      Given the increasing success of 3G (particularly for mobile internet) I'm surprised that Mobile ISPs aren't looking to work with the BBC to offer a free (at the point of use) Radio Streaming service. The BC already pays for the transmission bandwidth, so it is a question of whether the running costs of transmission towers can pay for the receiving bandwidth.

      And i think that ISPs will in future be glad of the BBC since ISPs in the UK have not succeeded in delivering value-added services on top of the bit-pipe. Project Canvas might help bring more ISPs on-side.

    2. Xander Dent

      Genius idea

      So the only news we then get is the likes of Fox? yeah, good plan idiot.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Makes Sense

    “Traffic management policies need to be very clearly explained and very transparent,”

    I have no problem with traffic shaping as long as the ISP states up front exactly what shaping is carried out (not in the small print) and that they do not have the right to implement any changes to the shaping policy during the term of the contract. I don't think ISPs should be allowed to sign you up for a minimum term and then impose changes to the contract upon you during that term, given that there will no doubt be penalty charges for early cancelation.

    1. Xander Dent


      IANAL but, if they change the contract, you are entitled to terminate incurring no fees, as they are no longer abiding by the signed agreed to contract. ie they must inform you of changes and allow you to bail out if you wish.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Sort of

        If they change the actual contract then you are right. The problem is that it's common practice (not just in the ISP world) to write the contract in such a way that it allows changes to terms and conditions.

  11. theloon

    Free Ride!

    Classic BT comment. "Beeb shouldn’t expect a “free ride” over its network"

    Of course BT seems to have forgotten that their own broadband customers have actually paid for bandwidth and access to the Internet.

    Just go to Virgin where they actually try and give you want you have paid for, and not pass you off with peak-time guarantee of just 2 meg.

    BT does not like you actually using the bandwidth you have paid for....

    1. Jerome 0
      Thumb Down


      "BT does not like you actually using the bandwidth you have paid for...."

      Neither does Virgin, I can assure you. If BT are actually even worse, their customers have my deepest sympathy.

  12. Harry

    "Traffic management policies need to be very clearly explained"

    Right, you should start by making two things VERY clear ...

    a) Companies that want to use words like "unlimited" must be required to consult a dictionary, and use the word only if their service is genuinely both capable and permissive of unlimited traffic, and

    b) Companies that want to use meaningless phrases like "up to" must also, in the same breath and with equal prominence, state their guaranteed MINIMUM value.

    Until such time as Ofcom proves it can get its head round enforcing the above two elementary concepts, we cannot believably give Ofcom any credibility in getting its head round other, more advanced concepts.

    1. Jerome 0
      Thumb Up


      I hereby vote you head of Ofcom. Preferably an Ofcom with some kind of powers to actually do stuff, mind you.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Go OFCOM go!

    It is time someone tackled the monstrosity that BT is become.

    As for BT Vision, it's a shame that such wonderful technology is in the hands of such a monolith.

  14. Anonymous Coward


    "If I'm paying for my connection, I expect to be able to use it for what I want, not have it throttled because they sold the same bandwidth to 8 different people."

    "If a company doesn't have enough bandwidth to provide both services at the same time then they should sod off and leave it to someone who can."


    More accurately, "if a punter doesn't have enough dosh to pay for a guaranteed contention-free service, he should stfu and sod off when contention stops his always-on service being turned into an always-downloading-at-line-speed service". But these folks want something for nothing.

    Hello Entanet users. How's your ISP been since the 300GB/month off peak allowance was introduced a couple of years ago. What, service quality collapsed (as did the network, every day just as off-peak started) after enough mickeytakers moved in? Who could possibly have predicted that?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Your own connection speed history

    Nah then...


    In the UK enter your postcode and do a check every now and again.

    The website records your results over the last 6 months.

    If you notice an anomaly contact your ISP.

    If there are repeated anomalies then make a formal complaint to your ISP.

    If you don't work with your ISP to solve matters (and in the UK I suppose there is the OFT and official consumer based organisations) take the matter further.

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