updated 02:10 pm EDT, Mon September 29, 2008
Xohm Data Throttling
Users of Sprint's just-launched Xohm service are likely to face certain services being throttled from the outset, according to the WiMAX network's Acceptable Use Policy page. The carrier claims the right to use "various tools and techniques" to limit the speed available to any particularly data-heavy apps or entire protocol types, including file sharing suites. The restriction would be put in place to create a consistent experience for the user base, Sprint argues.
The move partly contradicts Sprint's assertions of an open network for Xohm, which will officially allow any legal third-party app or device on its service. The new clause would allow Sprint to effectively ban BitTorrent or similarly peer-to-peer apps but could potentially cut into audio or video services that compete directly with Sprint's cellphone service, such as VoIP.
Regardless of intentions, the policy also opens the door to conflict with the US Federal Communications Commission. The organization in August banned Comcast filtering methods that used a similar technique on grounds that they violate net neutrality principles and stifle legitimate businesses that use the technology. The cable provider has so far reluctantly agreed to obey the measure but has also filed a lawsuit attempting to overturn the decision. [via Silicon Alley Insider]