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Update: Net neutrality – is Ofcom too timid?

Posted on Oct 12 2010 by Neil Watson | Comments Off on Update: Net neutrality – is Ofcom too timid?

It seems net neutrality, the principle of treating all Internet traffic equally in order to provide a fair and equal service for all users, suffered a further blow when Ofcom announced its decision not to step in as regulator after receiving responses to its traffic management and net neutrality consultation. The consultation was initiated to discuss Ofcom’s regulatory responsibilities and any future duties under the revised framework, along with a debate on why traffic management and net neutrality is important to both citizens and customers. The regulator’s reasoning behind its decision is that the UK’s ISP market is considered effectively competitive and does not present any evidence of anti-competitive behaviour and should therefore not face restrictions on all forms of traffic management.  Worryingly, Ofcom has made this announcement despite the fact that BT and the TalkTalk Group freely admitted they’d favour any video or content providers that want to make a ‘deal’ in their Ofcom responses.

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Neil Watson, Head of Service Operations

Speaking at a Westminster eForum on net neutrality, International director of Ofcom, Alex Blowers, said “Ofcom is committed to dealing swiftly with problems as they emerge, but we are also committed to approaching issues in such a way as not to assume a problem before a problem has emerged.” Surely with BT and Talk Talk blatantly stating their intent in their consultation responses it would not be hard to ‘assume’ that this will become a problem in the near future.

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