Jun 11 2008

Based On An ISP Theme

Category: Internet ConnectionsChrisM @ 2:16 am

The recent comment flurry over at the Broadishband Got Narrower post reminded me I had a few bookmarks ready to post news about ISPs back in Britain. Read on if you have a moment…

I thought I had already written a couple of posts about the Phorm scheme in Britain, but I can’t find any reference searching through the last few months. Anyway, the idea is relatively simple, internet users have their site history (anonymously) analysed to ensure that adverts displayed are relevant to their interests. Whilst BT, and other ISPs, have stated that certain topics will be excluded (medicine, adult and political-orientated sites I believe), many people and organisations are very concerned at the possible privacy issues. Anyway, BT are a little uncomfortable, as an internal report revealed that trials were carried out without the consent of the ISP’s customers. Check out here for more info.

Sticking with the ISP theme, here we have one article on the proposed voluntary code for ISPs when advertising their speeds and data limits. In Britain, many ISPs used to advertise ‘unlimited’ 8Mbit connections, with users eagerly signing up. When these same users found connections sometimes around the 3-4Mbit range, and their downloads either blocked due to AUP (Acceptable Use Policies) or their PeerToPeer applications’ bandwidth throttled (or ‘shaped’), people began to complain. To be fair, unless you live IN the local telephone exchange, you will never get an 8Mbit connection when the account is for ‘up to’ 8Mbit, and if every customer was downloading movies (public domain ones only of course) 24/7, either everyone’s speeds would suffer, or the ISP would have to invest in so much hardware that prices would inevitably rocket. All most consumers want (those that have a clue about the reality of the industry at least), is plain English to be used in any communications from the ISP, clearly stating what approximate speed can be expected, and just how much data can be downloaded per month, without incurring restrictions.

Finally, we have a report stating that Britain’s internet infrastructure needs to be intelligently upgraded, for the economic and social benefits to be reaped soon. Although Japan and a few Nordic countries already have widespread <100Mbit trials or even standards in place, Britain has stopped around the 24Mbit mark, and even then if you don't live in the right area, 8Mbit is the theoretical ceiling (possibly LLU (Local Loop Unbundling) related?). Compare that to the speeds found in Kazakhstan, and you could easily ask what people are getting their knickers in a twist about, but the cold hard truth is that if the UK wants to stay at the front of the line, when it comes to enjoying the benefits of next-gen technology, it can't afford to faff about forever arguing over costs and timescales. (Orchestral Movements in the Dark's song Dream of Me (Based on Love's Theme) for some reason was in my head when I was trying to think of a post title, in case anyone cares about the root of it).

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