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MP Calls For Metered P2P Broadband
By: MarkJ - 18 November, 2003 (9:15 AM)

Completely missing one of the key points behind broadbands attraction, a government MP has suggested that file-swappers pay extra to cover the strain they put on their ISPs network:

David Hendon, head of business relations at the Department of Trade and Industry, told the DTI select committee last week that peer-to-peer (P2P) file-swapping is responsible for a significant chunk of network traffic in the UK.

He suggested that many broadband users primarily want an always-on connection, rather than one that allows them to download as much information as they want, and that P2P users should be held accountable for their activities.

"A lot of the data travelling over the Internet is caused by, well, 'young people swapping files' is one description," said Hendon, speaking at an inquiry into the UK's broadband market. "If the network operators and ISPs have support this activity, then it seems only fair to make the users responsible pay for the bandwidth they use," Hendon added.

During mid-2003 we did an article (HERE) on this very subject and found that, out of the ISPs we spoke to, P2P use was not such a major issue.

Quote from (article) Pipex: P2P doesn't affect our service, aside from the expected effect - that a larger amount of bandwidth is being used than would be if P2P were not in use. That said, given the attractiveness of broadband for data exchange it's very likely that if P2P didn't exist then a similar system probably would.

Quote from NDO: We do not find that P2P causes us any bandwidth issues. Bandwidth is only a problem when ISP's do not have sensibly designed network backbone and infrastructures.

More worrying perhaps is the tendency for the words to suggest that P2P is a bad thing (unless misused for illegal reasons - as any system can be), when it actually helps to boost broadband.

With higher speeds come greater content and data use, every ISP has so far catered for this and less than a handful have felt the need to take action in order to limit such activity.

Still, ZDNet points out that Hendon's comment is not government policy and that such issues are best left to the market. Thank god for that.

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