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Sprint threatens P2P throttling on WiMAX

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Sprint has reserved the right to limit the bandwidth of P2P file sharers on its brand new broadband wireless network..

According to the "acceptable use and network management policy" for the thing called Xohm, the company "may use various tools and techniques designed to limit the bandwidth available for certain bandwidth intensive applications or protocols, such as file sharing."

As you might expect, the Free Press - one of the watchdogs who sparked the FCC's investigation of Comcast's BitTorrent busting - isn't too happy about this. Sprint has touted Xohm as an open network, but Free Press says it's closed.

"We are very troubled by this development and the larger moves across the wireless industry to limit consumer access to the legal content and services of their choice," reads a statement from Free Press policy director Ben Scott. "We hope that Sprint will quickly disclose exactly what tools and techniques it plans to use, and demonstrate why it is necessary to maintain a closed network when consumers demand an open Internet."

Naturally, Sprint doesn't like this talk. "It is not our intent to police the internet or the content that our customers access," a company spokesman told us. "And we will not shape or modify the delivery of customer data. We are working to deliver a great customer experience for all of our customers. This is an open network... We are not targeting a specific application used on our WiMAX network."

Ah, but the network's terms and conditions also say this: "To protect our network, services, or for other reasons, we may place restrictions on accessing certain Data Content (such as certain websites, applications, etc.), limit throughput or the amount of data you can transfer, or otherwise limit or terminate services."

It's true: Sprint hasn't disclosed how it would throttle file sharing traffic. But it should at least be commended for admitting - upfront - that such throttling might happen. That was hardly the case with Comcast. ®

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