As has been widely discussed online today, Telstra will shortly be undertaking a limited trial of a range of technical solutions for better managing network performance.

The trial will be limited to a small number of ADSL customers in Victoria. All affected customers in the trial areas will be informed of the trial in advance and be given a choice of whether to participate in the trial.

Telstra will consider the results of this trial as part of its future network planning and product development activities. No decisions have been made to extend any of the network management practices being tested in this trial to our broader customer base.

The objective of this trial is to identify options and pricing plans for our customers that will improve overall customer experience, to ensure that we continue to offer the best quality service at the best possible price. Network management practices of this kind are common internationally and are already in use by a number of Australian ISPs (particularly on wireless networks).

One of the variety of options being examined under this trial is the shaping of specific services (including some peer to peer (P2P) services) in certain circumstances, to determine what impact this has on total overall customer experience of time critical experiences for real time entertainment.

Online piracy is an important policy issue and Telstra remains open to discussions with a range of stakeholders to identify workable solutions that protect the interests and privacy of our customers. However, this trial is solely about examining ways of improving our network management to ensure that all of our customers enjoy the best quality service for their specific needs at the best possible price.

As part of this project, Telstra is trialling network enhancements that allow the identification of specific types of traffic on our network. The technology being used looks at characteristics of the data packet to identify the type of the traffic present. Any inspection that takes place is used only to identify the signature of the traffic; it does not identify the content (eg whether this is a movie, the title or any other details).

This trial does not involve any monitoring or tracking of the sites visited by our customers, and the trial’s findings, including customer feedback, will be collected in accordance with our Privacy Statement.

Telstra will always ensure that we give our customers all the information they need to choose the products and services with the characteristics that best meet their needs.

Update 8 Feb

Since we posted this blog discussing our plans to trial new ways of managing our network, there’s been a lot of discussion online and in the media about the potential implications of these plans. Given this, we thought we’d respond to the most common questions that have been raised since our last post in these trials. Please read our Myth Buster blog post here.