Why some ISPs turn against their own customers

Martin Brinkmann
Jun 9, 2008
Updated • Nov 30, 2012
File Sharing, Internet

With the recent announcement that Britain's largest cable Internet Service Provider Virgin Media will start warning its customers, or better the part they suspect to download files without having the proper rights to do so, that they will face prosecution if they do not stop the behavior. Virgin Media calls it educating their customers during a ten week trial campaign but their letters will apparently be accompanied by letters from the British Phonographic Industry that threatens disconnection and court appearance.

Now the interesting question that arises is why they would want to educate their customers. My first assumption would be that they, as a cable provider, want to reduce the average bandwidth usage of their customers in an effort to maximize the profits from their infrastructure. Usually filesharers have a much higher bandwidth demand than the usual Internet user with the exception of video portal junkies maybe.

Reducing the amount of filesharers that are their customers would definitely reduce the bandwidth bill of the ISP. Cable is a shared connection as well which could increase the speed of all customers as well.

The interesting question will be how they will pick the customers that will receive the warnings. Will they actively monitor P2P networks, will they only react when the BPI sends them a list, will they verify those lists ? What about false positives ? Someone who is download music from Jamendo using the Bittorrent protocol. Will he receive a warning as well ? What about secure Usenet connections ? IRC, FTP, file hosts. How the hell will they be able to determine that a file that is being transferred is indeed a copyright violation ? Filenames alone are without doubt not the safest way of determining that. So, how will they do that ?

My second assumption would be that Virgin Media could have some ties with the BPI or a company that is a member of the BPI. I really do not have enough time to research this so if anyone could help me out it would be appreciated.


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  1. Decent60 said on November 11, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    K-Lite pack MEGA. All you need to know lol If it won’t play with that, then it needed a whole new program to use anyways.

  2. Anonymous said on November 11, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    VLC Player has played just about every file for me. If VLC can’t play it, then the file was probably malicious anyways

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 11, 2013 at 10:53 pm

      As I said, VLC should have you covered. But if you use Media Player or something similar, you may like this.

  3. Ron said on November 11, 2013 at 11:39 pm

    Media Player Classic – Home Cinema (MPC-HC) or Media Player Classic – BE (MPC-BE) should be able to play (almost) anything also. MPC-BE is my player of choice. (It also has a small footprint on your hard drive, which is something I always take into consideration when choosing between different programs.)

  4. brian Tran said on November 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    love utorrent..

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