UK Telecom Comes Down Against Traffic Shaping

    April 17, 2007

It’s often considered lazy writing to start a piece with a quote, but I think that, in this case, it might be necessary. 

Wikipedia calls traffic shaping “an attempt to control computer network traffic in order to optimize or guarantee performance, low latency, and/or bandwidth.” 

And now that you know that, know this: a major British telecom does not favor traffic shaping.

BT Wholesale’s chief technical officer, Matt Beal, said in an interview with ZDNet UK that he found traffic shaping to be “quite Big Brother-ish.” 

Never mind this penalize-the-user stuff, he said – “It is up to us at the core of the network to make sure there is enough bandwidth for [our services and those of our competitors].”

This statement implies that BT is not trying to pass the figurative buck; equally important is the idea that it is not trying to monopolize anything, and Beal addressed that issue, as well.

“Beal said he did not care who owned the frequencies,” wrote ZDNet UK’s David Meyer

And while that was in reference to “the upcoming spectrum auctions,” rather than some existing technology, it’s still a good sign.

In fact, assuming that no one else from BT “clarifies” Beal’s statements within the next few days (that’s corporate-talk for denying something and/or applying damage control), net neutrality in the UK appears to have taken a relatively big step forward.

If BT would care to share its views with its American telecom relatives, we’d be much obliged.