U.K. Internet Service Provider Virgin Media has partnered with British technology consultancy company Detica to trial technology that monitors levels of file-sharing traffic across its network.

According to a spokesperson for Virgin Media, the Detica CView system - a secure hardware-based service that analyses the percentage of copyrighted and unlawfully shared data flowing across the Virgin Media U.K. network - will begin trialling shortly.

A precise start date was not provided while the exact length of the trail period is to be determined in the coming weeks, the spokesperson went on to say, adding that the service will only be applied to an undefined "portion" of Virgin Media's U.K. network.

Detica CView technology works by applying advanced analysis to anonymous ISP traffic data, which is then aggregated into a total volume measure of unauthorised file sharing. The technology does not identify individuals that are being monitored or store their data, say the company.

Commenting on the partnership, Andy Frost, director of media at Detica, said in a statement: "We hope the launch of Detica CView will pave the way for stronger collaboration between ISPs and the media industry, by enabling all parties to more accurately measure the success of shared initiatives, reduce digital piracy and provide an unparalleled level of accuracy."

Referring to the recent Digital Economy Bill in the United Kingdom - which includes proposed legislative measures to tackle illegal file-sharing (Billboard.biz, Nov. 20) - Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin Media added in a statement: "Understanding how consumer behaviour is changing will be an important requirement of Virgin Media's upcoming music offering and, should they become law, the Government's legislative proposals will also require measurement of the level of copyright infringement on ISPs' networks."

He went on to say that Detica's CView technology "potentially offers a non-intrusive solution which enhances our understanding of aggregate customer behaviour without identifying or storing individual customers' data."