The Register broke a story today about the plan by the UK’s cable company, Virgin Media, to dump neutrality and target BitTorrent users
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.
Virgin Media’s CEO Neil Berkett has previously described net neutrality as “a load of bollocks*,” a sentiment that I can relate to if not specifically endorse.
UPDATE: Wired Blogs reports Virgin is denying the veracity of El Reg’s story, but read the world’s finest tech pub tomorrow for the real story. In the meantime, a quick perusal of Virgin’s traffic policy indicates that they already reserve extensive traffic shaping powers.
Blogger Tom Evslin has jumped on the story with some instant analysis. The problem this story causes for American Liberals is cognitive dissonance: Britain is a virtuous European nation with a National Health Service, a leftwing government, and a commitment to the Kyoto Protocol, yet they permit more traffic shaping than the FCC will allow Comcast; this sort of contradiction causes my friends on the left to drink heavily, or to blog obsessively.
*American translation: BS.