Ofcom opens discussion on net neutrality

UK regulator Ofcom has published a discussion paper on net neutrality to open discussion on how it might exercise its powers to address traffic management by internet service providers.

Ofcom has the power to require suppliers to be transparent about their traffic management practices, which will be strengthened by amended EU rules that will be transposed into UK law next year.

“New EU rules give regulators a clear responsibility to address the emerging issues around traffic management. The question is how Ofcom uses these and existing powers to further the interests of consumers, while supporting vibrant, innovative content production and network deployment,” said Ofcom chief executive Ed Richards. “The internet is playing an increasingly central role in the lives of citizens, consumers and industry. It provides access to an ever-growing range of content, applications and services that we have come to both expect and depend on. How this access is controlled by ISPs affects us all and is of wide reaching significance. At the heart of this discussion is how to ensure that traffic management practices are transparent and how to ensure that traffic management is not used for anti-competitive discrimination.”

Ofcom is seeking preliminary views on the issues raised in its discussion paper. It will also conduct a series of roundtables with industry, citizen and consumer groups over the summer.

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