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Download Restraints to Speed up Internet

Internet service providers in Shanghai are planning to provide quicker services for business users and individuals who want to check their e-mail or read news online, by limiting download speeds of movies, TV shows and games during peak hours.

"We will provide normal Internet speed for business users and general public needs like news browsing and e-mail checking by classifying services," said Zhou Weidong, a spokesman for the Shanghai Municipal Informatization Commission.

Service providers, such as Shanghai Telecom, are preparing for the change, said Zhou, although the commission isn't sure when it will go into effect.

Currently, downloading of large files, like games and movies, occupies the majority of Internet resources in the city, often clogging traffic. The downloads involve peer-to-peer technology, such as BitTorrent (BT), a program that allows users to share files.

"We are considering restricting entertainment downloads like BT (during peak hours)," Zhou said.

Telecom operators said widespread use of BitTorrent is clogging online traffic. While BT users only account for about 20 percent of all Internet users in the city, they occupy more than 70 percent of network resources, according to China Telecom.

Shanghai Telecom said recently that it will charge users based on the amount of data they upload or download, which means BT users will have to pay more.

"That is not reasonable. We are prepaid subscribers so we should use the Internet without any limits," said Raymond Gu, a 27-year-old lawyer.

(Shanghai Daily March 3, 2006)

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