Ofcom has published a consumer guide to traffic management to help people understand how internet service providers (ISPs) manage broadband connections during busy peak periods.

ISPs use traffic management make sure that networks operate more efficiently by prioritising bandwidth used by certain types of services, such as video streaming, or gaming.

According to research commissioned by the UK communications watchdog, consumers are mainly in the dark over what traffic management means for them, with just 1% taking ISPs' policies into account when signing up to a service.

Moreover, only a third of realised that traffic management is currently being used by broadband providers.

However, it may just be the case that there isn't enough information out there on what traffic management means (hence Ofcom producing the guide), as three-quarters of respondents who do know about their ISP's traffic management policy said the terms were easy to understand.

Those involved in the research did suggest room for improvement, saying that ISPs should summarise their policies and make sure that technical terms are explained in clear and non-technical language.

Sky high

The research was published on the same day that Sky revealed its broadband network had crossed the 1TB (terabit-per-second) threshold for the first time.

This means that its network is sending out 1,000 gigabits of data per second, the equivalent of everybody in Edinburgh's watching a film on Sky's network at the same time.

The company, which has 4.9 million customers, claims that the landmark was helped by being the only ISP never to introduce usage caps, fair-use policies or traffic management on its unlimited products.