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Ofcom: ISPs must reveal more about traffic throttling

ZDNet - ISPs must be clearer with broadband customers about how they restrict traffic, Ofcom has said, warning it may force them to do so if they do not improve.

In addition, customers should be told exactly what average speed they should expect to get when they sign a contract, the telecoms regulator said as it released a statement on net neutrality on Thursday.

"In general, [traffic management] is beneficial, and is used for example to protect safety-critical traffic such as calls to the emergency services. But it can cause concern, if for example it is used by ISPs to target competing services, in a manner which is not visible to consumers," the regulator said in a statement.

Fixed and mobile broadband providers typically have traffic management policies in place, but not all of their customers may be aware of them. Traffic management is typically used to ease congestion at busy times on the network: for instance, video services may be prioritised over mail at times of day when more people are watching, and peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic is often allowed less bandwidth at certain times.