Some ISP's are discriminating against 3rd party network services

Earlier I wrote about plans by BellSouth and other ISP's to discriminatorially throttle 3rd party Internet traffic. The BellSouth CEO was quoted saying, essientially, those other companies (such as Google) need to pay to use their lines. And that if those 3rd parties did not pay up, they'd throttle however much of their lines those 3rd parties can use.

Well, The real reason Skype isn't as good as it was indicates this is already happening. The article discusses a company, Sandvine, whose product helps ISP's throttle the traffic going over an ISP's network. If the ISP notices too many Skype or BitTorrent or other peer-peer traffic on their wires, then the ISP can use Sandvine's software to modify that traffic.

"From our survey, we can tell that out of all the traffic coming into the network, 60 per cent is peer to peer; and 70 per cent of the upstream traffic is also peer to peer," said the company today.

The number of file sharers has risen dramatically, says Sandvine. "Users are moving from sharing three meg songs to uploading and downloading 600 gig movies. That means that service providers have had to apply a lot of traffic assistance for this increased traffic."

'Traffic Assistance' being a euphamism for shutting down the users of certain services. And when the ISP offers a competing service ... for example many ISP's offer VOIP services ... it's easy to see their actions as discriminatory against legitimate use of the network. When an ISP who offers VOIP service also shuts down or throttles use of competing VOIP services, this is an obvious case of unfair competition.