IP communications firms urged to sign code of practice
IP communications companies are being urged to sign up to a new code of practice on the openness of the internet.
The Open Internet Code of Practice extends an earlier agreement and adds three new principles – 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; and members must not target and degrade content or applications offered by a specific rival.
The voluntary code of practice commits internet service providers to guaranteeing "full and open access" to the net. There could be ramifications if the code is breached and action will be considered by a forum which will include representatives from Ofcom and the ISPs.
Some major telecommunications firms have already signed up to the code but others are dragging their heels. Those who have agreed have pledged to offer open access to all content as long as there are significant grounds to implement "reasonable traffic management practices". However, other providers argue that the principles are too vague and impractical.
ITSPA, the IP Communications (VoIP) trade body, said it welcomed the formalisation of the code and was disappointed that not all providers had signed up.
Eli Katz, chair of ITSPA, said, “It is unfortunate… that not all CPs have signed up, as ITSPA feels that all consumers should have the ability to clearly determine whether or not their internet access is truly open. It is vital that all of industry endorses this document to ensure consumers are provided with more transparent information and that new and innovative Internet services can grow, without fear of anti-competitive behaviour.”