Erik Huggers, BBC director of future media and technology, says ISPs shouldn’t traffic manage but if they do it must be transparent. He summarised key points made by the BBC in its submission to the European Commission review on net neutrality (being conducted in conjunction with Ofcom) which says the EC’s three targets should be universal access, quality of service and the long-term support of innovative, competitive business models.
“The founding principle of the internet is that everyone – from individuals to global companies – has equal access. Since the beginning, the internet has been ‘neutral’, and everyone has been treated the same.’ But the emergence of fast and slow lanes allows broadband providers to effectively pick and choose what you see first and fastest.”
“This innovative and dynamic ecosystem, that enables huge public value, could be put at risk if network operators are allowed to use traffic management to become gatekeepers to the Internet.”
He says although users can switch ISP, this isn’t easy in practice. “Even if switching were made easier, much more work is needed to deliver real transparency about the traffic management practices used by different broadband providers.”
The BBC’s iPlayer is at the centre of ISP concerns about network capacity, its heavy use particularly at peak time presenting QoE problems for the network as a whole and some are already ‘traffic shaping’ to compensate.