Tuesday, 3 July 2012

A Level Playing Field?

EU Will Get Net Neutrality Legislation

Neelie Kroes, the Europe’s digital agenda commissioner, is set to back recommendations to the European Union on preserving net neutrality.
These recommendations were done in a report written by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (also known as BEREC). The report call for plans to ensure Internet service providers don’t unfairly restrict their subscribers from accessing any service or application they want.

According to her statement, the outfit had today provided the information Neelie Kroes wanted. She said that for most citizens, their Internet access works fine, but some findings reveal the need for more regulatory certainty, proving that there’re enough problems to warrant strong and targeted action to protect Internet users.

The findings in question emphasize a problem of effective consumer choice and the outfit wants to generate more real choices and ensure the net neutrality laws in Europe. The promises were done that the recommendations will be made for EC this year. Thus far, Neelie Kroes has already told EU member states to hold off from implementing their own net neutrality legislation, because legislating on an ad-hoc country-by-country basis would only arm the creation of a Single Digital Market. Instead, Kroes wanted them to wait for the report that had been commissioned more than a year ago.

The report concludes that 20 to 50% of the EU citizens are tied into broadband or mobile broadband contracts, which allow their operators to limit access to such services as VoIP or file-sharing.

For instance, in the United Kingdom, most of the major broadband providers, including Virgin Media and BT, are noticed to use throttling on some of their packages. They say they do it to manage traffic volumes.

Over 20% of fixed-service broadband operators also have restrictions to some of their services, like P2P use, at peak times. Indeed, today many mobile and fixed providers offer plans allowing for unrestricted access, so consumers have the choice of avoiding traffic management, but all this depends on whether the ISP explains its options clearly. That’s’ why Kroes wants more detailed explanations of the “real-life” services that subscribers sign up for before they are locked into an agreement.

Internet service providers are expected to provide detailed estimates of average speed at peak times and out of hours. In addition, they are required to make it clear exactly which services consumers are able to use and at what times those can be limited.

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