Britain's Ofcom mulls net neutrality regulations

Just as U.S. Congressional leaders spar with the FCC over its net neutrality proposal, the UK's telecom regulator is also considering similar regulations for its country's broadband providers.

Similar to the fight that's been waged between the FCC and U.S.-based incumbent telephone and cable operators, Ofcom believes that the network controls that the likes of BT and Virgin Media could use to manage access to high bandwidth sites, including gaming sites, might have the negative effect of blocking access to competitors' service.

Net neutrality concept has become a divided issue in the U.S. While major incumbent phone companies (AT&T and Verizon) and cable operators (Comcast) have opposed the FCC's regulatory proposals to regulate how they manage their lines, Internet-centric service providers (Google and Skype) believe the proposed rules will open up new service possibilities for consumers.

And while the UK's broadband market is clearly more competitive than the U.S. with over six wholesale service providers and multiple retail broadband providers, Ed Richards, Ofcom's CEO, said it had been examining net neutrality.

"At the heart of this discussion is how to ensure that traffic management practices are transparent and how to ensure that traffic management is not used for anti-competitive discrimination," said Richards.

For more:
- Reuters has this article

Related articles:
Ofcom lays out BT's open access fiber plans
Verizon's Seidenberg: FCC's proposed regulations could hamper investment
FCC wants to strike a regulatory compromise with service providers
FCC advances broadband reclassification vision
Detour on the road to universal broadband
Net neutrality regulation could cost jobs, argues study

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