The first Cox customers scheduled to feel the effects of these test are in Kansas and Arkansas.

The new plan, as the company stated, aims to help manage congestion on its network by splitting Internet traffic in two distinct categories: time-sensitive and non-time-sensitive. Everything falling into the latter category is to be slowed so that time-sensitive traffic can continue as usual.

Time Sensitive
– Web (Web surfing, including web-based email and chat embedded in web pages)
– VoIP (Voice over IP, telephone calls made over the Internet)
– Email
– IM (Instant messages, including related voice and webcam traffic)
– Streaming (Web-based audio and video programs)
– Games (Online interactive games)
– Tunneling & Remote Connectivity (VPN-type services for telecommuting)
– Other (Any service not categorized into another area)

Non-Time Sensitive
– File Access (Bulk transfers of data such as FTP)
– Network Storage (Bulk transfers of data for storage)
– P2P (Peer to peer protocols)
– Software Updates (Managed updates such as operating system updates)
– Usenet (Newsgroup related)

It remains to be seen if Cox will actually unveil the method use to determine the category placement for traffic. Also, we wonder just how many customers will begin complaining when this practice spreads across the US.

Last but not least, there’s the old rhetorical question: “We’re too cheap to spend money on improving out network, right?”