ISPs sign a new voluntary code of practice to end the confusion
Seven major internet service providers (ISPs) will sign a voluntary commitment to give better information about how they manage internet traffic.
Traffic management policies are put in place by ISPs to enable them to cope with peak times when many people use the internet. The more people are online, the longer it can take to download multimedia or surf the internet.
The ISPs prioritise certain content for example streaming video, surfing the web and sending email over other tasks such as heavy downloads.
The new code of practice is said to allow everyone to get the best broadband speeds. In order to make it clearer to consumers, BSkyB, BT, O2, Talktalk, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone have agreed to adhere to a common format.
This will explain about how they slow down networks at certain times and why.
Antony Walker, chief executive of the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), which facilitated this voluntary industry code of practice, said: "There has been more heat than light in the debate about traffic management over recent years.
"This commitment to provide clear and comparable information in a common format is very important. It will not only help to ensure consumers are better informed about the services they buy and use, but will also provide a clearer picture for policy makers of the way in which traffic management is actually used in the UK market."
The new voluntary code includes three commitments. First, to give consumers more information about what traffic management takes place, for which products, what purpose and with what impact. Second, to ensure this information is understandable and, third, that the publication of a table summarising the key facts ISPs' websites by end of June 2011.
The information will also be made available to price comparison websites. The information will be on the ISPs' websites by the end of June as the code is tested this year. The BSG said it hoped that more providers would sign up in the coming months.
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