If you are a keen internet user, have you ever experienced your internet service being "slowed down" for no apparent reason? Well, if you do, welcome to the world of "System Management" as what O2 will tell its customers. If you refer to this link, it will show you what O2 will do when a user is using p2p or merely downloading or even trying to watch a rented movie via streaming. Let's face it, all Internet Service Providers or ISP will throttles the speed of your broadband irrespective of whether you are using an ADSL 2+ or via a fibre optics modem like Virgin Broadband.
ISPs are telling customers that they need to do so to ensure that all customers will be able to enjoy a respectable broadband speed. Well, this is true to an extent. Imagine if there is and exchange for 10000 connections and amonth those 10000 household, only 10 percent of them use more than 100GB of download/streaming per month. The rest would only download occassionally. Due to the 10 percent of household who are indulged in heavy downloading, the rest of the household had to suffer a slowdown on their broadband because the exchange could not provide sufficient bandwidth to the rest of the household as the 10 percent had occupied most of the bandwidth.
The solution is simple. ISPs will issue a statement stating that they will manage the traffic of each household who use their internet service to ensure that there will be sufficient bandwidth for all users. Even TalkTalk Broadband is following other ISPs to do so. Bear in mind that TalkTalk received the most complaints regarding their broadband and phone services recently so you might want to think again when subscribing to TalkTalk Broadband. In doing so, ISPs will not need to improve on their bandwidth in such a short span of time. They will have sufficient time to improve on their infrastructure.
Well, what about consumers then? Does consumers have a choice when signing up to a broadband service? I would always recommend people to have a look on an ISP's website and forums as to their reliability of service and also their customer services. Personally, I was on Virgin Broadband which I was paying £21 a month for 10mbps download and 1mbps upload where there is no limit in how much I can download. Virgin Broadband is fairly alright with their customer services and on their reliability score. Make sure that your house is within their fibre optics coverage. Otherwise, you will have to pay around £35 for a landline and an ADSL broadband which is just too much considering that O2's Home Broadband is only £20 a month for the similar package but without free of peak minutes to UK landlines excluding premium numbers.
In a nutshell, we as consumers could not avoid ISPs in managing their traffic but always choose a broadband service provder carefully. Don't just sign up to one without doing a research.