According to a new report on Net Neutrality from Sweden users of mobile broadband services will be sad to hear that not all of their traffic is being treated fairly. While most internet traffic is left unhindered, a report from the organization responsible for Sweden’s .SE national domain reveals that some operators have been systematically slowing down BitTorrent transfers, while others are blocking them altogether.
The report comes from the Internet Infrastructure Foundation, an independent organization responsible for operating the top Swedish domain (.SE) and national domain name registry.
The new report, called "The Health Status of Net Neutrality – The Operators’ Impact on Internet Traffic," examined how fixed and mobile Internet service providers in Sweden regulate the flow of traffic on their networks.
Tests were conducted by .SE on the services of a dozen ISPs and measurements were taken for three different types of traffic – standard web browsing, file-sharing and video (such as YouTube).
“What is evident from the measurement results is that some mobile operators systematically downgrade user traffic such as the file-sharing protocol BitTorrent,” says Jörgen Eriksson.
Eriksson, who was responsible for conducting the tests, says that they found at least one ISP had blocked all incoming connections to torrent clients.
The report concludes that interfering with BitTorrent traffic is a bad idea, since much of open software distribution relies on it. Messing with P2P protocols is also a problem because services such as Skype, Spotify and Voddler use them to operate.
“If an operator attempts to limit these protocols and the operator’s customers know that their Internet connection does not give them full access to this type of service the operator will lose customers,” says the report.
“The most interesting conclusion is that it is very difficult, if at all possible, to find information among operators about what they block or prioritize,” says Eriksson. “We know that mobile market players see it as an advantage to NOT be compared with others. There is thus a risk that even if the technical information is presented, it will be useless for those who do not have a deep understanding of how the Internet is built.”