Which Australian ISPs Throttle BitTorrent And By How Much?

Which Australian ISPs Throttle BitTorrent And By How Much?

A list revealing the peer-to-peer throttling habits of the world’s biggest internet service providers has been made public by Measurement Lab, a Google-backed platform that allow researchers to perform extensive tests on the performance of the internet, among other things. The list includes a number of Australian ISPs, including Telstra, Optus, Internode and iiNet.

The first table on this page shows the data the lab has collected so far, spanning April 2008 to May 2010. The relevant values are the number of valid tests conducted and the percentage of those test that detected some sort of P2P throttling.

The list has AAPT consistantly at the top with 21 per cent in 2008, 38 per cent 2009 and 21 per cent 2010, however, the valid test count is of a moderate-to-small size and M-Lab notes that with limited tests comes a large variance in results. Optus is the worst offender with consistent percentages and large valid test counts, ranging from 7-26 per cent over the same period.

Surprisingly, Telstra delivers the best results, never exceeding 10 per cent from 2008-2010. It should be noted it has the largest sampling sizes and thus, the most consistent values. Internode maxes out at 13 per cent, while iiNet fluctuates between 5-17 per cent. Of the latter two ISPs, iiNet had the larger, more consistent pool of valid tests.

If you think these numbers sound bad, they don’t hold a candle to Comcast in the US, which throttled almost 50 per cent of BitTorrent traffic during 2008.

MLab-Data [via Gizmodo]


  • I’m pretty sure that internode doesn’t throttle any type of traffic at all. Their policy is that if you pay for 200gb then you can download your 200gb from whatever sources you want by whatever protocol you want, and at whatever time of the day you want (ie no peak versus off-peak).

    With that in mind it makes me very sceptical of these values given that Internode was recorded as allegedly throttling 13% of p2p traffic at one time.

  • @JonBOY: I guess you’ve been lucky and been in the 87% of the time when they’re not throttling!

    Anecdotally, when I notice that my iinet connection seems slower than it should, it’s when I have a bittorrent client running, even if it’s not transferring much data.
    Turning off the client brings the speed back up to normal.

    • I may be Wrong but it could be due to idle torrents connecting to potential peers and trackers. If you have a bunch of idle torrents it can definitely slow down your connection even if they aren’t sending or receiving data

  • I have an Optus cable account in South Brisbane. During the night I can get away with it, but not during the day. My P2P has random port hopping. All that happens then is the D/L speed goes back to say 1.3mb/s for 40 secs then the throttling kicks in dropping to say 50 kb/s. I pay for the service I expect to have no throttling.

    • I think you will find thats not Optus doing that…

      I always manage to get 1-3mb/s from Optus on torrents (max i ever get is 8mb/s from new/major torrents)

      Currently Optus is having issues with their international traffic, which is where most torrents are from sadly,

  • iiNet – Why you treat me so bad? I been wit you long time! Regarding TPG, I know a couple of people who’ve been with them who’ve had nasty letters following illegal movie downloads. At least that doesn’t happen with iiNet. They seem to look after your privacy better.

    • Not sure how TPG is looking any better or worse at privacy from that. I’m with them and I get the odd letter now and then when I DL some tv show. They all but tell you not to worry about it. No threat of consequences or anything. They get a complaint about an IP, they send that person an email, and that is the entire interaction.

      TPG has been good to me the entire time I have been with them and well worth what I pay for a truly unlimited, unmetered plan. Sadly I am at like 1.4km from my headend (Along with the rest of my suburb, it is rediculous) so even with ADSL2 I only really get ADSL1 speeds; I get about 4mb down, .75mb up. But that’s been consistent with the three or four ISP’s I’ve had in the past decade.

  • Do they throttle skype? Nobody I know can do a proper video call to the US. We see and hear them great but our video to them is choppy. I think its iinet throttling my uploads

  • iiNet straight-faced lie to you if you call them and ask why they throttle ANY kind of traffic. I’ve caught them proxying some web traffic and throttling other kinds of traffic, when I’ve called their support centre they flat-out deny it, even though I have packet traces proving they do.

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!