Starhub first started by blocking port 80 (or more popularly known as the HTTP port) which effectively prevent any of their subscribers from hosting web pages on their home computers. Lately, they started blocking BitTorrent ports (one wonders how many ports that are) because they felt that "many broadband network operators in the world are also doing so", and that it "helps to ensure that all their customers receive an optimal surfing experience". However, it was also speculated that Starhub would have enjoyed higher cost savings because BitTorrent users are known to be huge bandwidth hogs and are much less profitable for them, compared to surfers who just logon to check their mails or play online games.

While I am not a BitTorrent user, I am quite disgusted with Starhub’s self-righteousness over this matter, not to mention their disillusioned perspective of "many broadband network operators in the world". So far, it was reported that only 2 other Internet Service Providers in the world does it, and both are located in the United States.

So we may probably see a huge exodus of users jumping to Singnet’s Mio. I guess someone will be laughing his way to the banks soon. Then again, it’s not the first time that Starhub has done something this controversial and it’s been proven that their subscribers had been sticking with them through thick and thin and till death do they part. =)

WEB surfers are up in arms over a new report that says StarHub is blocking a popular software program that allows netizens to share movies and other large digital files.

According to the report, released last Friday by a German research firm, only two other Internet service providers (ISPs), both American, block BitTorrent.

The program allows users to download the latest movies, music and software in a matter of hours. While it has become popular among the growing legion of online pirates, BitTorrent has also been used for legitimate purposes, such as distributing free software and new rock albums.

The Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, which compiled the report, said StarHub blocks users from sending data to other users, but not from downloading files. However, this can hamper download speeds as BitTorrent works on a reciprocity model: Those who upload more will be able to download faster.

StarHub’s head of Internet Protocol services Lim Seow Thong did not dispute the report, but defended the company’s actions as something ‘many broadband network operators in the world’ are also doing. He said it helps ‘to ensure that all our customers receive an optimal surfing experience’.

Another possible reason it did this may be cost savings. BitTorrent users are known to be huge bandwidth hogs, and are much less profitable for ISPs, compared to surfers who use their connection to surf or play online games.

But it is a decision that has not gone down well with some subscribers.

On popular technology website Hardwarezone, users lined up to protest against the move, with many threatening to switch Internet providers.

One StarHub user, undergraduate L. Tan, 22, said he would try to convince his parents to switch from StarHub to another ISP once their contract was up. ‘The only reason we’re paying $60 a month for broadband is so that I can download stuff. Otherwise, I might as well just get the entry-level plan,’ he said.

But StarHub customer and shareholder Ken Tan cheered the news. ‘Right now, BitTorrent is primarily used to distribute pirated materials, so people who don’t use BitTorrent, like me, are basically subsidising those who do.’

The Max Planck Institute, which does research on computer and networking-related issues, collected data from over 8,000 BitTorrent users from 1,244 ISPs across 90 countries for the report.

Article obtained from on 22nd May 2008

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