The Open Internet
Issues around the Open Internet – sometimes known as the net neutrality debate – have been of interest to policy makers, regulators and industry stakeholders for some time and recently gained public prominence following changes in regulations in the USA and at the EU level.
The BSG has taken a central role in the UK and EU debates. We believe in a vibrant and Open Internet that allows for innovation in both content and infrastructure. The concept of an Open Internet is guided by 3 principles:
- Users should be able to access all legal content
- There should be no discrimination against content providers on the basis of commercial rivalry
- Traffic management policies should be clear and transparent
An Open Internet is best achieved by an effective and competitive market, combined with transparency of traffic management policies. The UK has such a market, unlike much of the USA, and has supplemented high levels of transparency with self-regulatory Codes of Practices that involve Internet Service Providers (ISPs) making tangible and specific commitments.
In 2011, the BSG published a Traffic Management Transparency Code of Practice aimed at ensuring that Traffic Management policies were transparent and comparable. Building on this Code, we published the Open Internet Code of Practice in 2012, in which ISPs committed to not using traffic management practices to degrade the services of a competitor. In summer 2015, the BSG commissioned the review as both a form of good practice and to ensure that the UK’s approach could continue to remain compliant under the new EU Connected Continent Regulation. The review report produced by consultancy WIK, was published in November 2015 and found that the Codes could continue to add value “over and above the requirements laid out in the Regulation”.
In June 2016, the BSG published its new Open Internet Code of Practice which was developed in collaboration with the Open Internet Forum. The Code merges into one the two previous Codes (and replacing them), it updates the ISPs’ Commitments in light of new technological developments and brings the Code in line with the EU Regulation.
The BSG facilitates ongoing discussion between ISPs and content providers through the Open Internet Forum which brings together signatories of the Code, Government, Ofcom, content providers and other interested parties. It facilitates dialogue amongst industry on Open Internet issues and allows concerns and issues to be raised informally. If you wish to be on the mailing list for these meetings, please contact: Openinternet@broadbanduk.org
You can find the new Open Internet Code below: