British ISPs looking to charge per device or data used
British ISPs are expected to start charging customers, depending on the device or type of data they’re using, according to a networks expert. Fixed-line ISPs could soon introduce variable charging, much like how the mobile operators changed their pricing models after the introduction of the iPad. F5, which makes equipment that can control traffic on networks, said that ISPs might also choose to charge differently for data, depending on how time-critical the bits were. This could mean a billing system that charges less for non-urgent data, with an email costing less per bit than either Skype or video packets that need immediate delivery. An independent net neutrality regulator may be necessary to avoid clogging up of data.
The warning comes as UK ISPs are set to meet with politicians and regulators today to discuss net neutrality and traffic management issues, after agreeing to publish a voluntary code of conduct. However according to experts “The iPad created a very interesting situation for the operators, where the devices themselves generated additional loads for the networks,” said Owen Cole, technical director at F5 Networks. “A neutral eye and a neutral hand on net neutrality could go a long way to support the future and development of how information moves across the internet.”