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[ NNSquad ] ISPs actively exempting some sites from bandwidth caps

Greetings.  Regular readers know that I have many times discussed the
scenario of ISPs favoring particular content by exempting it from
otherwise imposed bandwidth caps, and the anticompetitive effects that
this would have, especially given the vast subscriber dominance of a
few major ISPs (especially in the U.S.)  

This already occurs to an extent in the U.S. where telco/cable
ISP-provided video-on-demand movies (for example) are typically not
considered by the ISPs to be "Internet" content per se and so don't
apply against Internet bandwidth limits.

But down under, we can already see how the full-blown content
exemption and favoritism model works with actual Internet downloads.
This article:

http://bit.ly/9XD6sT  (Ars Technica)

describes how the practice blatantly operates in Australia and
surrounding environs.  This is real world anticompetitive ISP
operations, not theoretical analysis.

Note that it isn't even always necessary for ISPs to prearrange such
exemptions with particular Web service providers (or to cut them
financially into the arrangements in any way).  One obvious ploy by
ISPs could be to offer customers some popular external service placed
within the ISP "bandwidth free zone" for a limited amount of time,
then watch the fun when the special offer runs out and your "hooked"
subscribers end up paying through the nose to maintain the same level
of continued access under the normal bandwidth cap provisions.

NNSquad Moderator