Some ISPs Intentionally Throttling Internet, Level 3 Says

One of America's largest Internet backbone providers, Level 3 Communications, claims that five U.S. Internet service providers (ISPs) and one European ISP are intentionally slowing down the Internet. Level 3 claims the companies are doing this in order to force the creation of more expensive peering agreements with content providers and Tier 1 service providers.

In a blog post, Level 3's Vice President of Content Mark Taylor argues that six of its consumer broadband peers have intentionally allowed congestion to build up in ports. When congestion is an issue, the broadband provider will not be as fast and packets will consistently be dropped. Even though there is nothing wrong with this, Taylor said those six peers are not doing anything to fix the issue.

Perfect Timing

Level 3's blog post comes just a few days after Netflix signed yet another expensive peering agreement with Verizon so that it could boost performance. As we saw in April, Netflix was able to increase the average speed of its subscribers' streams by paying off Comcast. According to Level 3, the ISPs want these agreements to become even more common.

By degrading the quality of Internet services, Level 3 says that the ISPs are looking to receive additional money from Tier 1 providers. However, Level 3 is refusing to pay those fees, meaning that consumers are the ones who will ultimately lose out.

"Our policy is to refuse to pay arbitrary charges to add interconnection capacity," Taylor said.

Rather than this being a case of neither company wanting to pay for an increase in interconnection capacity, Level 3 claims that the ISPs are intentionally limiting that capacity. The deal between Netflix and Comcast seems to be a perfect example of this, as once the peering agreement was signed, Netflix speeds immediately improved.

Making Changes

The Federal Communications Commission is in...

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