ISPs across the globe are working to provide bandwidth to their customers in a way that does not let a small number of heavy users degrade the internet experience of the remaining users.  For the most part, this is done by filtering packets at the application level, occasionally via deep packet inspection, but for the most part at the application level.  For instance, Skype and bittorrent clients are often targeted, but you can be sure that HD quality YouTube videos and other media will also start to experience Homer’s usual way of disciplining Bart.   The ISP may or may not deny this activity, but Sandvine, the manufacturer of the traffic shaping device used by 20% of worldwide ISPs speaks out and states than 90% of that customer base uses application level throttling, it is hard to ignore.  When Ars Technica reveals that even Sandvine thinks that application throttling is a losing proposition, somebody should start to pay attention.
“In our globalized, post-industrial world, a single Canadian company can shape the Internet experience for 20 percent of the world’s wireline broadband users. Sandvine makes deep packet inspection hardware that can identify and then block, shape, degrade, fold, spindle, or mutilate user traffic coming from particular applications such as Skype or BitTorrent clients. The 160 worldwide ISPs who use the company’s products love this particular capability so much that a full 90 percent of them employ it to “manage” their networks in a discriminatory way.”

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