Open Internet and Traffic Management Codes

Open Internet and Traffic Management Codes

Traffic Management Transparency Code of Practice (2011)

Following the transposition of the amended EU Telecoms Framework in 2011, BSG worked with the government, Ofcom and wider industry stakeholders to create a Code of Practice on Traffic Management transparency. This Code aimed to ensure that the consumer was able to make an informed choice via open and comparable information about ISPs’ traffic management policies.

Signatories to the Code of Practise committed to:

  • Providing more information to consumers about what traffic management took place, for what purpose and with what impact.
  • Complying with a set of good practice principles on providing information to the consumer that was clear,  appropriate, accessible, current, comparable and verifiable.
  • Publishing a common Key Facts Indicator (KFI) table, summarising the traffic management practices they used for each broadband product they marketed, which would be available on ISPs’ websites by end of June 2011. Interested customers would be able to access this information directly, however third parties, such as price comparison websites would be encouraged to communicate this comparable information to consumers in an easily accessible way.

In September 2013, Ofcom published research highlighting consumer understanding of traffic management, which demonstrated that the information was transparent and that the quality of the information that consumers could access had improved since the launch of the code. BSG worked with industry to implement improvements following the research.

Open Internet Code of Practice (2012)

Building on the work of the Traffic Management Code of Practice, the BSG launched in 2012 the Open Internet Code of Practice. The code set out specific commitments from signatories in respect of supporting consumer access to the Open Internet and against negative discrimination.

The Code committed signatories to:

  • Ensure that full and open internet access products, with no blocked services, will be the norm within their portfolio of products.
  • Provide greater transparency in instances where certain classes of legal content, applications and/or services are unavailable on a product. These products will not be marketed as “internet access??? and signatories will be obliged to ensure that any restrictions are clearly communicated to consumers.
  • Not target and degrade the content or applications of specific providers.

Further to these commitments, a process was established to allow content providers to raise potential cases of targeted and negative discrimination with ISPs. If they are not satisfactorily resolved, these issues will be lodged with the BSG who will share them with Ofcom and Government.

In May 2013 the code was updated to:

  • Clarify that signatories would not be infringing the code if they deployed content filtering or made available content filtering tools, where appropriate for public WiFi access.
  • Publish details of how the voluntary system relating to negative discrimination would operate.

The Traffic Management Code of Practice

The Open Internet Code

Original press release – ISPs Launch Open Internet Code of Practice (25 July 2012)

Key Facts Indicators

Ofcom consumer research into the transparency of traffic management information (September 2013)