In its 2012 update, Ofcom, the UK regulator reports also on the status of traffic management in the UK. Ofcom says [see also "UK: Broadband ISPs (except Sky) Still Limit P2P; Some Prioritize VoIP!" - here]:
- We looked at the traffic management polices used by fixed and mobile operators and found that there is often significant variation in fixed ISPs’ and mobile operators’ traffic management practices. While most apply traffic management in some form, others do not and use the fact that they have no traffic management as a part of their promotional message (e.g. advertising their service as ‘truly unlimited’ in terms of both data use and throttling of certain services).
- Most commonly, ISPs tend to apply traffic management to P2P services such as BitTorrent. P2P traffic is most likely to have restrictions placed on it because of the way it works: the nature of P2P software is such that it increases data usage along a network to fill whatever capacity is available. That, and the fact that P2P downloads are not typically as time-dependent as other types of application mean that many ISPs and mobile operators find that controlling P2P traffic is an approach to keep down network infrastructure costs.
- The impact of traffic management on users of P2P services can be significant – in some cases speeds of P2P traffic can be reduced to a fraction of the speed of other traffic on the network. We asked operators to estimate the impact of traffic management restrictions. Although most told us that such calculations were too difficult to make, others told us that the impact could be significant, e.g. one fixed ISP said the estimated impact of its traffic management policies was to reduce P2P traffic to 1% of what it would otherwise be at peak times.
- P2P is not the only type of traffic which is subject to traffic management. For example, O2 restricts the speed of video traffic on its lowest priced broadband package to 0.8Mbit/s, and offers higher-priced broadband packages that do not use traffic management for video traffic.
- In some cases, particular types of traffic are given greater priority and consumers who particularly value a type of service can choose packages that prioritise such traffic. For instance, Plusnet offers a premium broadband service for an additional £5 a month which gives priority to gaming traffic and traffic for virtual private networks (VPN).
See more - "Infrastructure Report - 2012 Update" - here.