A few years ago Google, in cooperation with academic researchers, the New America Foundation
and the PlanetLab Consortium
, launched Measurement Lab
(M-Lab). Measurement Lab is a suite of tools dedicated to helping broadband customers determine what kind of throttling or protocol discrimination their ISP is employing, presumably letting them make an intelligent decision when shopping between ISPs -- assuming they have a choice. This week the outfit published a new data sat
(via Torrent Freak
) highlighting consumer test results from between April 2008 and May 2010.
The data highlights how Comcast, who was throttling half of all P2P connections a few years ago, last year only throttled around 3% of P2P connections running on their network. Consumer anger, bad press, Florida's Attorney General
and an FCC wrist slap forced the carrier to implement a more intelligent network management system
, after their heavy-handed tactics were exposed first here by Broadband Reports users.
Cox, who we noted in 2007 was doing the same packet forgery practices as Comcast yet managed to dodge negative press attention
-- also implemented more intelligent solutions in the last few years and saw overall throttling rate decline accordingly -- going from 51% of all P2P connections throttled to 3 percent.
Initially, many ISPs used network throttling as a substitute for network capacity investment. Many of these carriers ultimately replaced systems that throttled all
users -- to systems that intelligently targeted only the heaviest users on the most congested nodes. The changes are a testament to the fact that consumer complaints (this 2007 Broadband Reports forum thread started everything
) can have a massive impact on ISP policy, even if many ISPs still aren't clear on exactly what kind of a connection a consumer is buying.
As of the data sets last date, the only U.S. ISP left throttling more than 10% of P2P connections on their network is wireless operator Clearwire. Clearwire, whose network management practices recently placed them in last in a ranking of Netflix streaming quality
, throttled 17% of P2P connections according to the last data set recorded. The rankings highlight the throttling of all ISPs globally, and users who have watched Rogers heavy-handed tactics over the years
(which have gone so far as to include throttling all
encrypted traffic on their network just to stop P2P users) won't be surprised to find Rogers on the top of the list.