Home > Digital Policy, net neutrality, throttling > Widespread ISP Throttling in Europe Study Finds

Widespread ISP Throttling in Europe Study Finds

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) released a preliminary report last week,  in which studied the use of deep packet inspection on electronic communications in Europe.  The study found:

The most frequently reported traffic management practices are the blocking and/or throttling of peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic, on both fixed and mobile networks, and the blocking of Voice over IP (VoIP) traffic (mostly on mobile networks, usually based on specific contract terms). When blocking/throttling is implemented in the network, it is typically done through deep packet inspection (DPI).

Beyond this, BEREC has found a very wide range of practices across Europe, and an equally wide range of implementation methods and policy justifications for them. About one quarter of respondents provide justifications for certain traffic management practices based on what could be described as “security and integrity” concerns (e.g. controlling “spam” traffic) – though some of these traffic management measures are best described as congestion management techniques. For instance, in relation to congestion management, some operators use an “application-agnostic” approach (e.g. active buffering), while others use “application-specific” techniques (typically in order to throttle specific traffic, such as video streaming). About one third of the fixed operators manage their networks in order to offer specialised services (for the provision of facilities–based applications, e.g. telephony or TV) alongside a (public and best efforts) Internet access service.

Rogers Communications Inc in Canada has been found twice in violation of Canadian net neutrality policy while using Cisco’s DPI technology.  Canadian ISP’s have since backed off on the use of DPI.  Could there be regulations in Europe for the use of DPI in the near future?

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