This story is from the category Connectivity
Date posted: 26/07/2012
Several leading UK internet service providers have refused to sign a code of conduct designed to guarantee "full and open access" to the net.
Ten ISPs including BT, O2 and Talktalk backed the agreement promising not to restrict or block content unless there was a reason to deploy "reasonable traffic management practices".
But Virgin Media said the principles set out were too vague while Vodafone said the code was "impractical".
Everything Everywhere also opted out.
The Open Internet Code of Practice builds on an earlier traffic management agreement - which the three hold-outs did agree to - adding three new commitments:
ISPs promise open and full access to the net across their range of products.
Firms cannot market a subscription package as including "internet access" if certain kinds of legal content or services are barred.
Members must not target and degrade content or applications offered by a specific rival.
Exceptions to the rule include sites or services blocked by a court order; the need to manage congestion on the network if too many people are using data-hungry services at once; the imposition of data caps that are part of a user's contract; and the use of parental blocks deployed to keep children safe.
If breaches of the code occur they will be considered by a forum including the ISPs, the communications regulator Ofcom and media companies, known as the Broadband Stakeholder Group.
Net neutrality campaigners have long warned of the risk of a two-tiered system under which ISPs could charge premium rates for full internet access, or act to ensure their own video content was sent glitch-free while throttling material sent by other catch-up TV services.
Ed Vaizey MP, the Minister for Culture, welcomed the new code.
"The internet has been built on openness and low barriers to entry, and this agreement will ensure that continues," he said.
Be, BSkyB, Kcom, Giffgaff, Plusnet, Tesco Mobile and Three also signed up to the plan, while Microsoft and the BBC were among those to praise its creation.
See the full Story via external site: www.bbc.co.uk
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