Tuesday, March 13, 2012

BEREC: Blocking/throttling P2P and VoIP with DPI is Frequently Done in Europe

Back in December, the EU TRANSPORT, TELECOMMUNICATIONS and ENERGY Council published a document summarizing its current work and consolations on Net Neutrality (see "The EU Takes its time with Net Neutrality: It is Important, but Let's Monitor and Study First" - here).
One of the action items was to "Monitor, jointly with BEREC, the issue of traffic management to allow for a smooth flow of proportional, necessary and transparent traffic management practices that do not affect net neutrality" and "Continue studying, with the support of BEREC's investigations, any aspects of net neutrality where significant and persistent problems are substantiated, including charges and conditions that mobile operators impose on VoIP users as well as throttling of content, applications and services".

Now, BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, announced that it ".. has submitted to the Commission its preliminary findings on reported Internet traffic management practices, following a Europe-wide data collection exercise launched jointly with the Commission in December 2011".

"The most frequently reported traffic management practices are the blocking and/or throttling of peer to-peer (P2P) traffic, on both fixed and mobile networks, and the blocking of Voice over IP (VoIP) traffic (mostly on mobile networks, usually based on specific contract terms). When blocking/throttling is implemented in the network, it is typically done through deep packet inspection (DPI) .. BEREC also found a wide variety of data caps and “fair use” practices - these were not the main focus of its investigation, since (with some exceptions) in general they do not imply differentiated treatment of traffic"

"About one quarter of respondents provide justifications for certain traffic management practices based on what could be described as “security and integrity” concerns".

See "BEREC preliminary findings on traffic management practices in Europe show that blocking of VoIP and P2P traffic is common, other practices vary widely" - here.

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