PlusNet: Honest Prioritization

plusnetusage.gif Unlike Comcast and Cox, PlusNet in the U.K. says what it is doing:
The principles of PlusNet’s network management policies
  • To make sure that time-critical applications like VoIP and gaming are always prioritised
  • To protect interactive applications like web-browsing and VPN from non-time sensitive download traffic
  • To flex the network under demand to cope with normal peaks and troughs from day to day and month to month
  • To flex the network more gracefully than other ISPs in the event of unusual demands in traffic or disaster situations such as a network failure
  • To provide a service relative to the amount each customer pays in terms of usage and experience
  • Provides a ‘quality of service’ effect, meaning multiple applications running on the same line interact with each other effectively, and use of high demand protocols like Peer-to-Peer doesn’t swamp time-sensitive traffic such as online gaming or a VoIP call.
Traffic Prioritisation, PlusNet, accessed 26 Nov 2007
Interestingly, this list does not cite video as the most-favored application, instead it lists VoIP and gaming, which are participatory services. However, scan down to their table of types of traffic, and VoIP and gaming are Titanium, while video-on-demand is the highest level, Platinum. Web surfing, mail, and other streaming media (presumably including YouTube) are the next level down, at Gold.

This begins to resemble the cable-TV style tiers of service many of us expect the U.S. duopoly will implement if left to its own devices. However, PlusNet does not appear to be charging the ISP end user different rates for different levels of service. It does offer VoIP as an extra charge addon, but that’s not quite the same thing.

Perhaps most interestingly, PlusNet doesn’t advertise having any actual video-on-demand content. What if the ISPs give a VoD party and nobody comes? This has happened before. Around a decade ago, the cablecos all thought VoD was the wave of the future rolling in right then, but the users didn’t want to pay for it.

The most refreshing thing about PlusNet is that it actually tells its customers what it is doing.