Ofcom to probe net neutrality

Michael Carroll
05 Mar 2010
00:00
News
Daily News

The UK’s telecoms regulator has begun a study of net neutrality.

Ofcom boss Ed Richards announced the move at a conference Wednesday, saying national regulators must decide if they need to do more to keep the internet open in light of growing use of traffic management methods.

National regulators were recently given more powers under new EU legislation, and Richards believes they should use those powers to ensure ISPs don’t discriminate which traffic they carry on their networks by limiting peak data rates,

Ofcom hopes the consultation will consider whether it needs to use its new powers “to prevent traffic management techniques being used anti-competitively.”

“This might mean, for instance, taking prompt action to prevent an operator with significant market power unfairly discriminating by slowing down rival firms' content services in order to favour its own proprietary content,” he said.

He said Ofcom would work closely with the newly-formed Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) on the consultation and aimed to publish initial findings in spring.

He said Europe’s different broadband investment model meant a more competitive environment than the US.

“In the US, limited competition, both at the network and at the ISP level, means that the potential for consumer detriment through traffic management is greater.”

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