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back to article Net neutrality? We've heard of it, says Ofcom

Ofcom's annual plan is out, setting the regulator's priorities for the next 12 months, and while much of it is structured diagrams and aspirational statements there are some snippets worthy of greater attention. Ofcom has, for example, decided that treating all packets of internet traffic as equals without discriminating against …

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Ofcom decided that Net Neutrality is a non-issue in the UK

And who the hell are they to decide that?

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FAIL

Re: Ofcom decided that Net Neutrality is a non-issue in the UK

The official body for communications regulation in the UK?

Deciding things like is exactly what their job is.

Whether it should be, and whether they're any good at it, is another matter entirely.

But that's an issue to be dealt with by writing to your MP, and/or voting for a political party that will change the situation.

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Re: Ofcom decided that Net Neutrality is a non-issue in the UK

The fundamental problem is that Ofcom's mission is to promote the market, rather than to protect the consumer.

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Happy

Re: Ofcom decided that Net Neutrality is a non-issue in the UK

Upvoted. Though I laughed (then cried a little inside) at the suggestion that writing to an MP or voting for a political party will change the situation at all.

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Devil

Re: Ofcom decided that Net Neutrality is a non-issue in the UK

"But that's an issue to be dealt with by writing to your MP, and/or voting for a political party that will change the situation."

We're bu99ered, then.

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Re: Ofcom decided that Net Neutrality is a non-issue in the UK

It won't the only thing that might make a difference is if someone with influence grills Osborne at the right time about it and it is made a big issue.

(We don't have world class broadband and we are not going to get it. The government u-turns on stuff all the time so it is possible for it to happen.)

The government loves Google so why cannot we get Google Fibre here (Whatever is necessary to make it happens is worth it - don't care one bit about BT or Virgin Media but they will actually have to actually try to be half decent not just deliberately being none "world class").

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Unhappy

UK Gov != net neutrality

Considering that the UK government had mandated against Net Neutrality on the grounds that we might use certain web sites for illegal purposes, what chance is there that Ofcom will uphold it?

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I don't care if some providers use 'traffic shaping' but what I do care about is that they are honest about it... I want it mandated on every advertising, and spelled out to the consumer upon sign up IF they use traffic shaping.. No advertising Unlimited Unrestricted internet unless it truly is that...

Although With the government allowing websites to be blocked, we no longer have a neutral net anyway...

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Happy

As long as they are advertising 'almost internet'they can do whatever they want.

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Your best bet is to complain to the ASA then.

They seem to be taking an interest in this very issue (they've already nailed a bunch of ads on "no buffering", "unlimited internet" and other claims). Just be very clear on the issues that you're raising with them and nominate a couple of advertisers whose advertising is misleading.

They're also very big on stompig on practices where the large print giveth and the small print taketh away - they've forced a nuimber of ads to be rewritten so that tiny fast scrolling stuff is made more visible for those without 100/20 vision and a 1000wpm reading speed.

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Seriously? The ASA?

@Alan Brown

would that be the same ASA that usually acts upon complaints long after the relevant campaign has finished and who's severest sanction is "don't use that particular ad again"? The publication of any of their rulings usually resulting in a minor bit of unpaid publicity for the supposedly offending company?

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Unhappy

"customers who want Skype can just switch networks"

Let them eat cake?

And if there's no cake to eat? Where do you get your mobile communications service?

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Re: "customers who want Skype can just switch networks"

There's at least one mobile provider that permits VoIP (including Skype, SIP and IAX2) - and their data rates are very good too.

Not going to name them, lest they (1) become overloaded, and (2) I get the post deleted for advertising.

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It's still not as funny as this tidbit

The "Competition Appeals Tribunal, responding to Sky's appeal against being forced to let competitors offer Sky Sports, ruled that Sky did not have enough power to upset the market. Meanwhile the Competition Commission, in an unrelated ruling, decided that Sky's dominance means the Pay TV industry is not competitive."

The idea that Sky don't have enough power in the PayTV market to upset it is just laughable - especially in the Home Box Office arena, and even more so again in the Sports market!

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Re: "You want mobile Skype" - Not I

Skype may be going downhill fast, but as it's the mandated switchover from MSN, there are a lot of people who are going to notice it's broken on certain UK networks.

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Trollface

Switching ADSL

"so Ofcom will be pushing out a consultation on the question in the summer."

Here's an idea. You find another provider. You sign-up with them online. You click "Move my ADSL to the new provider I like the look of more". You wait 5 minutes, restart your router and then access Skype all you want. (OK, I'll allow up to 30 mins to make the change). Oh and how about a minimum contract period of 30 days.

No having to write it out 3 times, sending by signed-for delivery and having to speak to 2 different retention teams. If an ISP doesn't like the idea of people switching at the drop of a hat, don't fk them about.

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Re: Switching ADSL

The article says we're talking on OpenReach equipment. If you've got a way for a cable to magically pop out of one DSLAM and jump into another, I'm sure BT would live to learn how they can reduce engineer head count.

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Re: Switching ADSL

Strangely, it's still easier to unbundle than it is to re-bundle (or to move sideways to another LLU - "side-bundle"?)

I'm really surprised, after all this time, that BT hasn't at least tried to make it easier to get customers back without the customer losing broadband service for a number of days, or needing a home visit. But, they haven't.

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Re: Switching ADSL

why not change the way LLU works, put the DSLAM on the openreach network and have that part controlled by openreach. Once your cable is jumpered in you're set and moving ISPs is just a question of reprogramming which back haul service your packets run over.

People said this wasn't possible with mobile phone numbers but you can get those ported inside 24 hours.

Even without changing anything moving ISPs should be a <24 hour job.

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@ Fuzz

Thats the service that BT Wholesale offer, and is offered on fibre products. However, it limits the level of control the provider has on the services, and closes off a range of options and products to them.

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Re: Switching ADSL

"why not change the way LLU works, put the DSLAM on the openreach network"

Because then ISPs wouldn't have a choice over what kit gets used and people would complain even more about BT having a monopoly.

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OFCOM. What are they good for ?

..Absolutely nothing !

I phoned them up the other week asking a question about telecoms regulations. Their answer: "Go ask a lawyer. We're not qualified to answer that".

WTF ? OFCOM make the rules, so how can they not be qualified to answer questions on their own rules ?

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Re: OFCOM. What are they good for ?

While I am not defending OfCom, since they're as useless as a chocolate fire guard, I have to say that I wouldn't have expected to get a decent clarification of regulations over the phone.

As with most organisations, the people that answer the phones are largely there to either point you in the direction of finding the information you want, or to placate idiots complaining about nonsense.

If you have a serious issue, I suspect you may get a better response by sending them a letter by snail mail. If you're lucky it might actually get handed to someone who knows what they're talking about and you may get a response more in line with what you were hoping for.

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Back to the ASA then.

They understand that advertising something as "Internet", with things like skype crippled is "not on".

Especially now that MSN is about to be switched off and all users are expected tp migrate to Skype.

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In the future

You'll need to pay two providers for internet access. One for the connection to the outside world, and another for the VPN that renders it usable.

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Re: In the future

Yup, until fucktard ISP1 blocks VPNs. (It's already happening on some networks)

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Re: In the future

It's not the future, this is now. I for one have been using VyprVPN at $20 a month for nearly 2 years now, primarily to bypass geolocation lockouts or to protect me from being tracked surfing politically incorrect websites. I originally subscribed to it back when Conroy was pushing his internet censorship regime in Australia, and found it so useful I kept it going even after he backed down.

So far there's been no noise about blocking VPNs here, but I know it's only a matter of time, as more and more people start using them and the police/spooks start getting arsey about not being able to spy on what people are doing online. The old NTHNTF argument will be dragged out yet again to justify controls, and access to VPNs will (I predict within the next 5-10 years) be regulated or controlled eventually.

However, many legitimate businesses make extensive use of VPNs so they aren't going to be completely banned. I imagine most likely what will happen here is that some law will be rammed through requiring VPN users to be a registered business, and you'll need to apply for some kind of government permit to use one, stating your reasons for needing to use a VPN in your business context. For example, you'd probably need to have offices or customers overseas with which you need to communicate privately. You'll likely also need to have a (more expensive) business account with your ISP, with access to VPNs denied by force of law to residential accounts. That'll kill it for most people, although in my business I could make a good case for needing it myself.

From there I can see a future of darknets or even a return to the sneakernet days, where people like myself who still have access to a VPN can fill requests from friends and relatives who are denied it.

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Unhappy

Er, what?

"While some mobile operators are blocking access to some services, the free market will sort that out"

If it *were* a "free market", then yes. But it's not. There are only so many mobile telcos (4?) out there and they all have a vested interest in offering a slightly limited service. As long as no-one breaks ranks, nothing will change.

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Re: Er, what?

There are only 4 mobile networks, there are plenty of suppliers offering different services. Currently most of them are aimed at the low end of the market but at work we use SIMs from an ISP offering a data only service aimed at businesses who want decent Internet access on mobile devices and are prepared to pay for it.

I use giffgaff on my phone and I will continue to do so because at no point as it prevented me from doing what I needed to do. If at some point they decide I can only go to websites beginning with a g I will go somewhere else. If giffgaff fine enough people that only want to go to those sites, they will survive, if not they will fail.

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