Virgin approach to net neutrality raises hackles

16 Jun 2008

An internet campaign that calls for Virgin Media customers to boycott its services has been launched in response to news that the company plans to push through controversial new changes to its broadband service. In an interview with trade magazine ‘Television’, Virgin Media’s CEO Neil Berkett hinted that the ISP was looking into a scheme that will create internet ‘bus lanes’ under which it will offer quicker access to websites that pay them a fee, with those that don’t being relegated to ‘slow lane’. Members of the STOP Virgin campaign argue that this approach will create a two-tier internet where users are funnelled into their ISP’s approved network of sites, with non-supported sites becoming difficult to access.

This is not the first time Virgin has attempted to shape its broadband traffic; in May 2007 it announced it would introduce bandwidth throttling, reducing the transfer speeds of users who download ‘unusually large’ amounts of data between 4pm and 9pm. This was greeted by more than a little uproar from Virgin customers, although the ISP’s response was unapologetic; stressing that bandwidth throttling was the fairest way to share bandwidth among its customers.

United Kingdom, Virgin Mobile UK