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Telstra to clamp down on peer-to-peer

Ben Grubb | Feb. 7, 2013
Telstra is planning to slow the speed at which its ADSL customers download content through peer-to-peer (P2P) networks in peak periods as part of a trial.

Telstra's Michael Lawrey.

Photo: Eddie Jim

Telstra is planning to slow the speed at which its ADSL customers download content through peer-to-peer (P2P) networks in peak periods as part of a trial.

P2P networks are commonly used to download pirated material such as movies, music and video games.

Telstra confirmed the move in a statement after a source contacted Fairfax Media, publisher of this article, to say the telco planned to introduce throttling as a "trial" that was likely to become permanent and which required users to opt out if they didn't want to take part in it.

The Telstra statement said it would be conducting on a "small number" of ADSL customers in Victoria a "limited trial of a range of technical options for better managing broadband internet performance for our customers during peak periods".

One option being looked at was the shaping of specific services, including some peer-to-peer services, in certain circumstances and at certain times. The telco could shape such services using deep packet inspection (DPI) technology, which can identify the types of traffic flowing through a network and prioritise it accordingly.

"Once the trial is complete we will consider the results as part of our future network planning and product development activities," the company said.

"The trial does not involve any monitoring or tracking of the sites customers visit and the findings we gather, including their feedback, are being collected in accordance with our privacy statement," Telstra said.

The telco published a blog post explaining its trial after Fairfax Media published this story.

Critics of ISPs that interfere with P2P say it has many uses that aren't illegal, such as downloading large files, and that it shouldn't be interfered with. But most acknowledge it is primarily used for sharing pirated material.

Telstra's plan to shape peer-to-peer network traffic was first mooted by the industry publication RCR Wireless in May 2011, when Telstra executive director Michael Lawrey threatened in a speech in Dublin to cut off "downloaders of illegal content", whom he reportedly blamed for network congestion.


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