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Bandwidth issues starting to haunt ISPs

I'm starting to hear some very interesting reports that ISPs on both sides of the Atlantic are taking steps to throttle and even block (opens in new tab) certain types of traffic on their networks, as bandwidth hogs - as the ISPs are calling them - start to overload their networks.

In the UK, Tiscali - one of the cheapest ISPs (opens in new tab) around - is reported to be blocking some high bandwidth traffic, as well as certain types of gaming sessions, much to the annoyance of its subscribers.

And in the US Comcast has come under fire for (opens in new tab) allegedly blocking some file-sharing services, including legitimate file transfers, and video streaming facilities.

The FCC - the US equivalent of Ofcom - is said to be investigating complaints (opens in new tab) from consumer groups and legal scholars that Comcast has effectively blocked or throttled some types of customer traffic.

By interfering with IP traffic, the groups claim, Comcast is deciding what will and won't work, so violating the Internet's unwritten tradition of `Net neutrality' - the principle that all IP traffic be treated equally.

Unlike Ofcom in the UK, the FCC has real teeth (opens in new tab), so I think you will see Comcast backing down on the issue.

You never know, Ofcom might even be pushed to rule on ISP traffic issues, though I have my doubts... (opens in new tab)