Monday, March 14, 2011

UK - ISPs have agreed a code of practice on transparency of traffic management or net neutrality

[think broadband] Some of the UK's major ISPs have agreed on a voluntary code of practice (COP) for transparency on traffic management on broadband services. The code has been put together by the Broadband Stakeholder Group in collaboration with BT, O2, Sky, TalkTalk, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone to try and clarify for end users what traffic management is in place, and the affects this will have on a users broadband connection.

Traffic management has previously been hidden within cloudy phrases, with some providers not owning up to the practice being in use, or not explaining how their system actually works. The code being introduced tries to standardise how information is made available to users with ISPs enrolled expected to publicise this by June 2011.

The code will require providers to provide some specific information to consumers:

a description of traffic management practices
how traffic management may affect the internet experienced for different types of traffic
any changes made to traffic management policies which could have a significant affect on a broadband product
details of usage caps or upload/download limits
ISPs shall also have good practice principles on transparency that will be:

Understandable - ISPs will use non-technical language that consumers can understand to describe traffic management.

Appropriate - ISPs will ensure that the details included are adequate to meet the needs of different consumers. This would allow basic headline information to be displayed as well as more detailed info for consumers.

Accessible - ISPs will make the information easy to find and access.

Current - Any changes with a significant impact will be notified to customers as quickly as possible. ISPs will endeavour to offer real-time information where appropriate and practicable.

Comparable - Information will be made available in a consistent, comparable way with a key indicator table to summarise that traffic management details used on the broadband products marketed.

Verifiable - ISPs will support an independent assessment of their policies to give consumers assurance that information provided is robust.

ISPs agree voluntary code of practice on traffic management

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