Xtra "manages bandwidth" for P2P app use

The country's largest ISP Xtra routes traffic for JetStart users using peer-to-peer applications in a different manner to the rest of its Jetstart traffic, says spokesperson Matt Bostwick.

The country's largest ISP Xtra routes traffic for JetStart users using peer-to-peer (P2P) applications in a different manner to the rest of its JetStart traffic, says spokesperson Matt Bostwick.

Asked whether that means there is a restricted pool of bandwidth for P2P users, Bostwick said that Xtra does manage bandwidth.

"We've never been hesitant about coming forward with that. What I can say for JetStart is we do have different routing for different types of traffic."

A number of users have been complaining on various newsgroups and mailing lists about the lack of download speed from such services, and Xtra spokesperson Matt Bostwick says the ISP does "actively manage bandwidth" to ensure service levels across the board.

Bostwick says he can't reveal how much bandwidth is available for users of P2P applications because it's constantly under review.

"It's all about providing the best possible experience for the end users."

Bostwick says the majority of JetStart users are not using P2P applications and use the service for traditional uses -- web surfing and email. Ensuring there is bandwidth available for users to do that is a priority for Xtra, says Bostwick.

"Adequate bandwidth is available for normal usage, although JetStart is not designed for - or suitable for - people serving large amounts of data."

Bostwick says Xtra's stance has always been that JetStart users are not allowed to use their line to serve data and that many P2P users don't realise this is what they are doing when they join such services.

"We actively police the network for people running servers and politely ask them to desist as their activities are in breach of the terms and conditions of this service".

This does not apply to JetStream users, however, says Bostwick.

"They are more typically business users and there are higher service levels written into the JetStream service."

JetStream and JetStart connections are routed quite separately these days.

"The reason for that is so that JetStart traffic doesn't impact on JetStream users."

Ihug doesn't differentiate between different applications for any of its customers, according to director Tim Wood.

"It's up to the user as to what they want to do with their connection, so long as they aren't breaking the law," says Wood.

Wood says Ihug has other limits in place, such as bandwidth or download limits, and that it is up to the user how those limits are reached.

Daryl Webb, director of operations at ICONZ, says he can understand why Xtra has imposed such limits, although ICONZ itself doesn't do that.

"We're primarily a business ISP and while they have a lot of residential users to manage, who are more interested in P2P applications, they have to be careful how they manage the traffic."

Webb says ICONZ doesn't limit P2P throughput as a number of businesses are looking at P2P applications, as well as other forms of file sharing like FTP or even instant messaging, for potential business uses.

"We don't want to take on some kind of policing role in that respect."

Paradise spokesman Quentin Bright says the company doesn't mind how its customers use the bandwidth they buy.

"We set bandwidth limits in conjunction with our customers and it's up to them as to how they reach that limit".

Bostwick says Xtra is currently reviewing its DSL package, in conjunction with Telecom, and says there is always the potential for a separate service offering for those users who do want to make use of P2P applications.

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