The government has drafted up a voluntary code of practice to protect the principle of net neutrality, but not every UK service provider has been happy to sign up to it.
Although net neutrality is now seemingly being referred to as the “open internet”, or to give the code its full name, the Open Internet Code of Practice.
What this is, essentially, is a pledge that ISPs won’t restrict content on the net in any way, providing it’s legal, of course. Should restrictions be applied to any package, then the service provider won’t be able to call the service “internet access.”
Members signed up to the code also pledge not to negatively treat content or apps put out there by rival firms.
ISPs will, however, still be free to deploy traffic management measures such as throttling peer-to-peer downloading – providing they make those throttling policies clear to the paying customer.
So which ISPs haven’t signed up for the code? According to PC Pro, Vodafone, Everything Everywhere and Virgin Media have refused to put their respective marks on the dotted line.
A Virgin spokesman told PC Pro: “These principles remain open to misinterpretation and potential exploitation so, while we welcome efforts to reach a broad consensus to address potential future issues, we will be seeking greater certainty before we consider signing.”
Everything Everywhere issued a statement to say that it’s “too early to know how a code of this type will affect customers’ internet experience, but it is something that we will continually review.”
The government, and Ed Vaizey in particular, will doubtless be working hard to try and convince them that the code is a good thing.
So who has signed up for the code? Ten service providers: BE, BT, BSkyB, KCOM, giffgaff, O2, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Tesco Mobile and Three.