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UK ISPs EE, Virgin and Vodafone Back Net Neutrality 36

Amanda Parker (3946253) writes EE, Virgin Media and Vodafone have thrown their support behind net neutrality by signing up to the Open Internet Code. Launched in 2012 by the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG), the UK code commits the three internet service providers (ISPs) to provide full internet access with no data blocked "on the basis of commercial rivalry." Content providers can now lodge a complaint with the BSG if they feel their services are being discriminated against. This latest development means that all major ISPs providing fixed and mobile networks are signed up to the code. BSG CEO Matthew Evans said: "Unlike some countries, where net neutrality has become a controversial topic for discussion, the UK benefits from a fiercely competitive market and high levels of transparency — which together offer the best assurance of an open internet."
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UK ISPs EE, Virgin and Vodafone Back Net Neutrality

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  • by Trepidity ( 597 ) <delirium-slashdot@NOsPam.hackish.org> on Tuesday January 20, 2015 @09:55AM (#48855497)

    In the UK case these ISPs mostly also run other media services: Virgin Media is a big media conglomerate that owns a bunch of TV channels, and Vodafone and EE both sell streaming-television services. A blocking/QoS war could be damaging to all of them, if they start preferring their own services and degrading other companies' services, so it might make business sense to just mutually agree not to do that.

    • The Code of Practice doesn't require them to treat their own services the same as external services... Its all niceties and lip service, the code doesn't actually commit them to treating Netflix the same as their inhouse service.

    • by MrL0G1C ( 867445 )

      When I was with Virgin Media they had the worst throttling, I'd literally see my 10M connections upload speed drop to dial-up speed. They still have crap download/upload ratios and the mandatory line rental is a complete ripoff.

      So two things:
      Censor = block, these companies will happily block political / controversial sites even by default (O2).
      Not blocking is not just the problem if they are going to degrade the connection severely like VM do/did.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Aka Virgin "Throttle you back to dial-up speeds" Media, Virgin "The ASA have us on speed-dial" Media, or Virgin "What is infrastructure investment" Media

    I'll believe this is more than lip-service when I see it.

    • Virgin "Throttle you back to dial-up speeds" Media

      No, Virgin 'throttle you to 25% for a few hours when you go over the caps' Media. On their cheapest plan, 25% is still fast enough to stream iPlayer HD and the maximum amount that you can download within the caps is several TBs/month, so it's not really something I've felt the need to worry about.

      Virgin "What is infrastructure investment" Media

      It's probably the thing that they've done to allow them to bump the speeds that they offer every few years. I was an early adopter for their 1Mb/s and 10Mb/s services and stayed on 10Mb/s as it moved from their m

  • Link to full code (Score:4, Informative)

    by Richard_at_work ( 517087 ) <richardprice@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Tuesday January 20, 2015 @10:05AM (#48855561)

    As the FA and Summery are both completely lacking in details, here is the full Open Internet Code of Practice these guys signed up to:

    http://www.broadbanduk.org/wp-... [broadbanduk.org]

    The code already has the following ISPs as signatories:

    BE, BT, BSkyB, KCOM, giffgaff, O2, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Tesco Mobile, Three

    • Note that the Open Internet Code of Practice doesn't stop companies from offering internet access with caps while excluding their own video on demand services from those caps (Sky, TalkTalk, BE, BT etc all do this) so non-affiliated services are still in-equal.

      On Sky Broadland Lite, I can use Skys On Demand service all day long with out exceeding my 2GB cap, but a few shows or a movie on Netflix would probably kill me for the month.

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        On Sky Broadland Lite, I can use Skys On Demand service all day long with out exceeding my 2GB cap, but a few shows or a movie on Netflix would probably kill me for the month.

        I don't think Net Neutrality means what you think it means.

        • Slashdots common complaint is that Verizon or Comcast can force Netflix out of the market by including them in caps while excluding their own streaming service. And that is often raised on network neutrality topics.

          So Slashdot seems to think the two are related closely.

        • On Sky Broadland Lite, I can use Skys On Demand service all day long with out exceeding my 2GB cap, but a few shows or a movie on Netflix would probably kill me for the month.

          I don't think Net Neutrality means what you think it means.

          No, someone here does get it right for a change. Net Neutrality is supposed to be about not treating data differently based on source/destination. Having the ISP's other services not count towards a monthly cap is definitely a violation of that idea.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      I guess the code is a complete whitewash to avoid legislation on the issue then?

      The reason I say this is that I have a line with PlusNet and they most definitely do not support net neutrality. Service throttling is a stated part of what they do:

      http://www.plus.net/support/br... [plus.net]

      Whatever this code is, it clearly doesn't do what it claims to. If an ISP is intentionally slowing down certain traffic (and charging you more to have lower priority traffic increased on your line as PlusNet does - £5 for

      • by scottme ( 584888 )
        From the Plusnet page you linked:

        Rate limits
        We do not apply rate limits to any of our current residential or business products

        • by Xest ( 935314 )

          Sure, but it's clear they deprioritise some services and that you have to pay more to have them prioritised on their otherwise oversubscribed service which is exactly the thing net neutrality is designed to stop.

  • AAISP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by auric_dude ( 610172 )
    Although not directly related to net neutrality I feel that A&A http://www.aa.net.uk/ [aa.net.uk] should be commended for their stance against the filtering and censoring of content http://www.aa.net.uk/kb-broadb... [aa.net.uk] as requested by some.
    • by jamlam ( 1101193 )
      +1 for A&A, I particularly like the option on account signup to choose between Censored and Uncensored Internet Access. If you pick censored it advises you to try another ISP :) There's also a great bit of text that counters the "without filtering how do we control bad guys on the internet" argument... "We do not have, in our network, any equipment installed to filter access to any part of the public Internet for our customers as a whole. We will give 12 months notice if we ever add any such filtering.
  • If the ISPs and telecoms are for it, then I'm against it.

    Down with Net Neutrality! Damn them all to hell!

    Wait, what were we talking about?
    • Well, I didn't knee-jerk that quickly but I did stop and ponder: Why?

      I don't know if it's sad or just odd that whenever some corporation does something that benefits a customer I stop and start to wonder and ponder what they are plotting...

    • by orlanz ( 882574 )

      You are not far off. I bet the primary reason they are doing this is because if they don't, regulations will force them to and those regulations will go too far in removing any flexibilities they would want. Not to mention it will cost them more. By kind of meeting 30% of the way there, they take the wind out of the sales of the opposition. Proper self-regulation is always preferred, but you do lose a lot of ground in the debate.

  • BT are looking to buy them. If that happens, it'll be as bad as every other BT outfit.

Nothing is finished until the paperwork is done.