Broadband's clogged pipes

08 Jun 2007

The Internet brings us together. And there's nothing that unites telcos more than their common grievance against freeloading Internet firms.

That's been evident at the Broadband World Forum Asia this week, where we've heard that Chinese broadband traffic is going off the chart.

Wu Hequan, the deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Engineers, said P2P accounts for up to 40%-60% of China's traffic, and up to 90% at peak hours in the evening.

Several of the China Netcom and Telecom honchos have made sharp remarks about the growth in traffic without any increase in revenue. 'Net neutrality' has not been a phrase in currency this week.

Sharon Vass, vice president marketing for Allot Communications, remarked that China did not seem very caught up in such matters. "They're into doing rather than debating," she said. Which works out fine for Allot, which makes deep packet inspection gear that enables carriers to set prices according to the applications that are being used.

Those carriers groaning under the P2P load might have usefully tuned into the digital divide session on Thursday.

Retired BT engineer Mick Reeve pointed out how BT had applied some smart spectrum management to squeeze another 30% out of its ADSL network. It now claims 97.6% coverage of UK households - more than piped water, he says.

But at least the water pipes aren't clogged.

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