The Broadband Stakeholders Group today released an “Open Internet Code of Practice”. This is a voluntary CoP promoting net neutrality.
- users should be able to access all legal content
- there should be no discrimination against content providers on the basis of commercial rivalry; and
- traffic management policies should be clear and transparent
I’m not going to delve into the detail of the BSG announcement which is available here. What I am going to do is name the current signatories who are all in the main consumer service providers:
- BE, BT, BskyB, KCOM, O2, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Tesco Mobile, Three
The significance of this list is in who is not on it, particularly the mobile operators. You can work out who they are yourselves. Some of them are already known to block the use of Over The Top VoIP services (eg Timico’s own VoIP, Skype et al) on their mobile networks which of course goes against the principles of the CoP being announced today.
Whatever their reasons for not signing these mobile networks will have to change their positioning as 4G gets rolled out. The bandwidth requirement for VoIP services will be relatively small compared with that required for general use on 4G networks so the “lack of capacity” argument should not work.
4G is a fairly major inflection point for mobile networks. I don’t have any forecasts but during the life of the 4G (LTE) technology we should see the mobile business model transition from being minutes driven to data driven.
I suspect that growth in “data bundle” income may not offset any reduction in voice minutes revenues so the mobile operators are going to have to work out how to find cash from elsewhere. This may come from advertising, financial micro payments, device and personal security and I’m sure many more that I haven’t thought of.
For the moment I’ll leave you to figure out for yourselves why the non-signatories have not stepped up to the plate. I can’t see how they can stay away for too long. It isn’t the actual signature but the principle of how they treat their customers who will end up voting with their feet.