UK ISPs “mustn’t set their own rules”

Speaking at a House of Commons debate on net neutrality, the executive director of the Open Rights Group called for Government to step in to prevent ISPs making up the rules for Internet service.

Jim Killock said: “What we have here is ISPs setting the rules. They are the de facto regulation of content on the Internet,” referring to ISP’s traffic management controls announced last week.

“The potential for trouble is clear to see,” Killock added, citing the controls exerted by certain mobile networks, which routinely ban services such as video streaming, VoIP and instant messaging. “You’ve already got a bad example with mobile networks.”

Killock said the ISPs were acting with virtual immunity, because both the Government and regulator Ofcom have publicly stated their reluctance to intervene. “Ofcom and the Government don’t want to go there – they don’t even want to raise the threat of regulation,” he added.

Killock’s fears were dismissed by Everything Everywhere, the parent company of T-Mobile and Orange, which both ban certain applications and services in their terms and conditions.

“The picture Jim presents is not one I recognise,” said Kip Meek, senior public policy advisor at Everything Everywhere: “The big issues are not the sort of issues Jim worries about, but will there be enough mobile spectrum available.”

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