December 16, 2008
The UK’s second largest ISP, Virgin Media, will next year introduce network monitoring technology to specifically target and restrict BitTorrent traffic, its boss has told The Register.
The move will represent a major policy shift for the cable monopoly and is likely to anger advocates of “net neutrality”, who say all internet traffic should be treated equally. Virgin Media currently temporarily throttles the bandwidth of its heaviest downloaders across all applications at peak times, rather than targeting and “shaping” specific types of traffic.
The firm argues that its current “traffic management” policy allows it to ensure service quality at peak times for 95 per cent of customers while still allowing peer-to-peer filesharers to download large amounts of data.
The details and timing of the new application-based restrictions are still being developed, Virgin Media’s Kiwi CEO Neil Berkett said in an interview on Monday following the launch of his firm’s new 50Mbit/s service. They will come into force around the middle of next year, he added.
A company spokesman later declined to provide more detail on the CEO’s comments. He said: “Broadband has become integral to delivering home entertainment services and with data consumption growing rapidly, we are exploring new ways to enhance our product offering. Part of this involves intelligent monitoring and understanding the way people use our broadband service.”