In what might be the first of many, French Internet Service Provider Orange has been caught throttling traffic to one of the world's biggest direct download websites, Megaupload.
The site, which also operates Megavideo, states that Orange, which is owned by France Telecom, is preventing its users from accessing its downloading and video streaming service freely and says that it can prove it.
As a result, Megaupload has issued a statement to its users encouraging them to contact the Orange's call center and tell them that they can't connect to websites hosted on Cogent and TATA.
Even more surprising (and perhaps showing how miffed they are), Megaupload calls on its uses to move to another "friendlier" ISP like Free or SFR.
A spokesperson for Orange told the French newspaper Le point, that the company was very surprised of the accusations, blaming Megaupload for having chosen "unreliable" peering partners before adding that Orange's was not to be blamed for Megaupload's failures.
Furthermore, Orange says that Megaupload is deliberately using more "reliable" service providers to convey data to competing network operators.
Traffic from France to these direct download websites has significantly increased after the French government adopted the controversial antipiracy law called Hadopi.
Megaupload and Megavideo are both located in Hong Kong, which allows them to broker cheap deals with internet service providers.
Given that their business models rely mostly on advertising, it does make sense for them to go for the most affordable peering partner.
However, both Cogent and Tata are both highly rated. Cogent is the second largest carrier of internet traffic in the world with roughly one in every six bytes running through its cables.
Furthermore, its AS174 backbone has one of the highest-ranked connectivity degrees on the internet. It would not be the first time that France Telecom and Cogent have had a dispute though.
Back in 2005, France Telecom severed all network links with Cogent in dispute over low bandwidth pricing.