Sunday, October 9, 2011

Yet Another ISP Transparency Guide

It seems that many regulators see that network neutrality is being focused on ISP transparency, rather than the full package of "all traffic being treated equally".

After UK's BCAP recommended ISPs how to to advertize services (here), BEREC (the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) published a draft document on ISP transparency.

See "BEREC Guidelines on Net Neutrality and Transparency: Best practices and recommended approaches" - here.
  • "We stress that transparency regarding net neutrality is a key pre-condition of the end users’ ability to choose the quality of the service that best fits their needs and also should reduce the assymetry of information existing between providers and end users, fostering proactive behaviour by Internet Service Providers (ISPs)
  • First of all, we believe that a fully effective transparency policy should fulfill all of the following characteristics: accessibility, understandabilty, meaningfulness, comparability and accuracy .. BEREC has identified two approaches - a direct and an indirect one. With a direct approach, ISPs make information transparent to end users directly, while in an indirect approach, third parties (such as comparison websites) play a crucial role in making the information understandable for end users. A direct approach is legally required by the Framework. An indirect approach, on the other hand, is not compulsory, but it complements a direct approach
  • BEREC finds that providers should clearly explain any general limitations, as well as any consequences of exceeding such limits. In this regards, explicit conditions such as data caps and download limits seem preferable to fair use policies Information on traffic management techniques, applied either on types of traffic or content, should be provided to end users along with information on about how these techniques may affect the end users’ access service.
  • Application agnostic and application specific traffic management techniques should be clearly distinguished

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