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Pipex and traffic management - the story two weeks later
Wednesday 20 July 2005 09:49:00 by Andrew Ferguson

We reported a little over two weeks ago about the announcement by Pipex that they were to implement traffic management on their ADSL services. The FAQ published by Pipex is still available here, this is also the location where we are informed by Pipex that clarification and further information on the Traffic Management will be published.

This move by Pipex should not affect 99% of the Pipex customer base, but unfortunately human nature being what it is, we are seeing many people worrying about it. We feel that part of this is down to the lack of precise information on how people are chosen to be traffic managed, and in our opinion the very poor nature in which it is implemented.

When the Traffic Management announcement was made it was not clear what was going to happen, now that the first few people have actually had the management implemented on their connection things are clearer. It seems that once you are spotted as a user that needs their traffic managing you cannot ever get off of the system, well there is one way, and that is to leave Pipex. Also the management used, appears to be a fairly straightforward throttle of the lines ability to download data, and is across the board, rather than for specific protocols or ports. In some cases people are seeing connections go from working at 200KB/sec to just 20KB/sec when the management is in place.

We did raise a number of issues that Pipex consumers are consistently asking questions about, and got the reply shown below:

"Some of the points raised have been in connection with the communication to our customers. Our stance on this is quite straightforward. PIPEX Internet’s method for communicating new initiatives or developments is through our formal communication channels. This may be via either a press release, the website, or MyPIPEX (the customer control panel), or email, or the Globe or any combination of these. The circumstances surrounding the initiative and the number of customers directly impacted determines the communication channel(s). In the case of the recent changes to the AUP and the terms and conditions we know that 99% of our customers will not be impacted so have chosen not to email the whole base directly. We have, as you know, posted a notice to “heavy broadband users” in the MyPIPEX Communiqués section of the Control Panel and in the Legal section, as well as posting an FAQ on the changes. PIPEX will not be traffic managing customers in secret. We have written to any customers whose connections have been traffic managed so far and will contact others in due course. ."

Pipex spokesperson

We would like Pipex to reconsider their position, and perhaps introduce a warning system, since there is a real risk that with the increasing amount of broadband content available, that users who do not understand their bits and bytes or GB and MB could get caught out, and by then it is too late as they are managed. We suspect that a lot of consumers will soon be choosing providers that have clear and upfront policies on usage, and who provide metering systems so that people can control their own usage. People generally like to feel in control, rather than have some faceless entity waiting to pounce.

We look forward to Pipex updating their FAQ on the matter, and hope that they will consider at least a short email to customers notifying them of the new system. We feel that a well informed customer, is often better than one who finds out about something through word of mouth where facts can often be twisted.

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