Open Internet

Ofcom report – Monitoring compliance with the EU Net Neutrality regulation

The EU Regulation on open internet access (the Open Internet Regulation) requires the safeguarding of equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic and related end-users’ right when providing internet access services. BEREC recently published guidelines on the implementation by national regulators of European net neutrality rules, which requires regulatory authorities such as Ofcom to apply the regulation in a consistent manor. Ofcom must also publish regular reports. The latest report covers the year ending April 2020.

The four areas under the regulation are:

  1. Monitoring the quality of internet access services.
  2. Safeguarding open internet access and traffic management.
  3. Transparency measures.
  4. Complaints and remedies.

The findings:

  • Quality – an improvement in fixed internet access services.
  • Connectivity – broadband and mobile networks coped during the peak of COVID-19 and people stayed connected.
  • Transparency of broadband speeds – codes of practices are working well and no new cases raised.
  • Open Internet Regulation – since closing three investigations in 2019 Ofcom has not identified new cases of concern regarding ISP’s traffic management practices. Ofcom published a framework setting out its approach to assessing compliance with aspects of the regulation, including a Traffic Management Framework which has helped ISPs in self-assessing any current or future traffic management measures that they may be considering.
  • Zero-rating – Ofcom concluded initial reviews of two zero-rating offers. As a result of COVID-19, a number of mobile providers gave customers free online access to the latest NHS health information and agreed to remove data charges for people accessing certain websites (e.g. providing support to victims of abuse).
  • Specialised services – no situations where the rules present a challenge.

Fixed broadband network internet access services quality:

  • Sync speeds – an upward trend of average download speeds from just over 49Mbits/s in 2018 to 61Mbit/s in 2019.
  • Mean average actual speeds – average download speeds increasing by 18% to 64.0 Mbit/s and average upload speeds increasing to 14.0 Mbit/s. This is due to the growing availability and take-up of superfast and ultrafast fibre and cable services.
  • Peak time download speeds – improvement compared to 2018 (with unchanged average maximum speed). In 2019 the figure was 62.9 Mbit/s, 96% of the average maximum speed.
BEREC logo

BEREC consultations are now open

BEREC has prepared a consultation document on the work done in BEREC and their 2020 workplan. Several consultations are underway on the following:

  • Guidelines on the Implementation of the Open Internet Regulation

Previously called the BEREC Net Neutrality guidelines and adopted in 2016, an update has been published with an accompanying consultation document. This includes mainly clarifications and follows the views of some stakeholders that the methods mentioned in the paragraphs 69 and 70 of the existing guidelines would not be enough for traffic identification and that domain names should be considered as generic content.

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Ofcom finds the Internet is still Open in the UK

Last week Ofcom published its first report to the European Commission under the ‘Connected Continent’ Regulation (2015/2120) on how UK operators are complying with the new Net Neutrality rules. The report was split into five sections on; quality of Internet Access Services, safeguarding open internet access, traffic management, transparency measures and complaints and remedies. Overall, Ofcom found no major concerns although it did highlight some points that merit further examination. (more…)

BEREC advises national regulators on new EU Open Internet rules

BEREC, the European body of National Regulators for Electronic Communications, issued its Guidelines of interpretation of the Open Internet rules (EU Regulation 2015/2120). In implementing the Regulation in the UK, Ofcom will need to take “utmost account??? of BEREC’s recommendations. Whilst the Guidelines do not impinge on the UK’s approach to the Open Internet, they build on the new BSG Open Internet Code of Practice, recently reviewed to reflect the requirements of the new EU rules.

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BSG new Open Internet Code clarifies the rules on internet traffic management for all players

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) published last week its new Open Internet Code of Practice which includes a series of practical commitments from UK Internet Service Providers on how lawful content should be delivered to consumers. The Code was published with widespread support from all major Internet Service Providers (ISPs), content providers, Government and Ofcom.

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BSG Publishes New Open Internet Code of Practice

  • New Code of Practice signed by all major UK communications providers, preserving consumer access to the Open Internet
  • Brings UK approach into line with the new EU Connected Continent Regulation

 

8 June 2016: The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG) today published a new Open Internet Code 2016, signed by major communication providers and with the wider support of the Open Internet Forum.

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Open Internet Forum starts to draft new Code

Following the publication in November 2015 of an independent review into the UK’s industry led approach to the Open Internet, the process to amend the Open Internet and Traffic Management Codes of Practice kick-started yesterday with a meeting of the Open Internet Forum (signatories of the Codes (ISPs), Government, Ofcom, content providers and other interested parties).

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Publication of review of the UK’s Open Internet Codes

Today, the BSG published an independent review into the UK’s industry led approach to the Open Internet. The report, produced by consultancy WIK, found that the UK Open Internet and Traffic Management Codes of Practice have been effective when measured against the principles of an Open Internet. WIK also found that the Codes could continue to add value “over and above the requirements laid out in the Regulation???.

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Preserving the Open Internet – BSG Chair Richard Hooper CBE keynote speech at the Broadband World Forum

BBWF RH speechOn Tuesday 20 October 2015, BSG Chair Richard Hooper presented to the Broadband World Forum the UK’s approach to the Open Internet.

Preceding Richard’s speech, Fight for the Future campaigner Evan Greer outlined the key events leading to a fierce public debate and adoption of strong net neutrality rules in the US.

The UK’s approach to the Open Internet was less controversial and lead to positive outcomes for both the industry and the consumer. Richard Hooper, in his speech, presented the success of the Open Internet Code which complemented the earlier Traffic Management Code. Statutory regulation has not been required in the UK to realise an Open Internet. The UK’s approach relies on self-regulation, a competitive landscape and transparency for the consumer.

Read the full speech here.

Review launched into UK’s Open Internet Code

Broadband Stakeholder Group commissions independent consultancy to assess effectiveness and recommend future developments

The Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the Government’s leading advisory group on broadband, is launching a review into the UK’s industry led approach to the Open Internet. The review aims to assess the current structure’s effectiveness, its future under the EU’s Connected Continent Regulation and what improvements can be made to the benefit of consumers and content and service providers.

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