You will of course all have been following the progress of the EU Telecommunications Council on the subject of Net Neutrality. In case you missed it the EUTC 1 published its conclusions yesterday.
In the interest of ensuring you have enough spare time this afternoon to go about your day job (it’s a full time occupation for a team of people to follow this stuff) I have summarised a few of the key messages here.
- The Council notes that some stakeholders are worried about transparency, discriminatory forms of traffic management and network congestion. It likes the idea of net neutrality but it also highlights the need to safeguard ISPs’ business models and to allow innovative business models to serve the needs of the market.
- The Council also highlights the importance of addressing the issues of transparency, discrimination and degradation of service through effective implementation of existing legislation, among others the Universal Service Directive (2002/22/EC), the Framework Directive (2002/21/EC) and the Access Directive (2002/19/EC) (okaaay).
The Council suggests the European Commission should:
- keep an eye on network operators to make sure that are not implementing traffic management practices that affect Net Neutrality
- continue analysing the sharing of costs of traffic and financial flows between players of the Internet value chain (uh?)
- continue studying any aspects of Net Neutrality where significant and persistent problems are substantiated, including charges and conditions that mobile operators impose on VoIP users
- further assess the discrepancy between advertised and actual delivery speeds occurring in Member States and report on the situation thereof by 2012.
I agree with most of this though I suspect they need to get a wiggle on re the mobile operator bit. I hear that the only two mobile companies not blocking VoIP are O2 and 3. Whilst I’m not sure why anyone would want to use the 3G network to transport VoIP (it’s a rubbish technology when used for that purpose) I don’t think operators should be allowed to block the traffic. Certainly not without being totally transparent that that is what they are doing.
Also I’m not sure what the Council proposes to do re cost sharing unless they are going to propose that the content providers start paying for some of the bandwidth used by their customers.
1 I may have made that acronym up – you heard it first etc…