This means that the ISPs would more aggressively police heavy usage on their networks, throttling the speeds heavy users would be able to achieve on their uncapped ADSL account.
In the wake of the backlash against their decisions, Telkom and Mweb both explained that it was a necessary step to protect their networks and ensure a good user experience for the subscribers who don’t use as much capacity.
Telkom and Mweb are not the only ISPs to say that such steps are necessary.
Though not all ISPs agree on how to manage traffic on their networks, Afrihost, Web Africa, and Cybersmart (among others) have indicated that they use some kind of shaping and/or throttling to enforce their FUPs.
A particular target of these enforcement measures is traffic from the popular peer-to-peer file downloading protocol, BitTorrent.
“Telkom discourages the use of torrents, and the like, as these create concurrent sessions that can create a bad experience for all customers on the network during busy periods,” a Telkom spokesperson recently told MyBroadband in a statement.
While BitTorrents are “discouraged”, Telkom added that it encourages other demanding protocols such as gaming and video streaming.
“Most torrent use is actually illegal in the sense that content is downloaded from sites without paying the requisite license fees,” Telkom continued.
Afrihost CEO Gian Visser said he also believes that media streaming and online gaming will continue to grow in popularity, and will remain a good way for uncapped users to get great value from their ADSL subscriptions.
However, he warned that downloading over file-sharing protocols such as BitTorrent would become more and more restricted.
“Especially with anti-piracy movements in South Africa and overseas,” Visser said.