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BizReport : Law & Regulation : April 06, 2009

New law halves Sweden's Internet traffic

One of Europe's most Internet-enabled countries has witnessed a sharp decline in traffic following the introduction of an online copyright law.

by Helen Leggatt

The law, which came into force last Wednesday, resulted in online daily usage drops in excess of 40%, according to traffic monitoring firm Netnod Internet Exchange. The law obligates ISPs to hand over the IP addresses of computers used for illegal downloads, allowing copyright holders to sue illegal file sharers.

Swedish ISP Banhof's CEO was dramatic in his response. "Half the Internet is gone," he said. "If this pattern keeps up, it means the extensive broadband network we've built will lose its significance."

The drop in traffic must have been anticipated. While Sweden has a massive high-speed infrastructure, the average broadband user experiencing speeds of over 8 Mbps, it also has its fair share of file sharers - around 8% of the entire population, according to Statistics Sweden.

Sweden is also home to the world's largest and perhaps most infamous BitTorrent sharing site, The Pirate Bay.

Tags: BitTorrent, copyright, file sharing, Internet, law, Netnod, Sweden, The Pirate Bay, traffic

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