ISPs to reveal traffic shaping under broadband code

The Broadband Stakeholder Group has released details of the code of conduct that it says will lead to greater transparency on traffic management.

We revealed the basic content of the code of conduct last week.

However, today’s announcement details the BSG’s plan to create a more open approach to informing subscribers about ISP traffic management, including a food content labelling-style guide to each broadband product.

The central part of the code is a “Key Facts Indicator” table, which will summarise management practices for each broadband product. It should be available from ISP websites by the end of June.

While the code pre-empts any formal control over the way traffic is managed, and won’t stop ISPs from charging more to prioritise specific content, but the BSG said it will at least give consumers more information about how broadband providers manage traffic.

“The development of this code comes at a time when regulators and policy makers in the EU are agreed that more information should be provided about how and why traffic management practices are employed by ISPs,” the BSG said in a statement.

“Some industry observers have also speculated that broadband operators may start to offer managed services that could prioritise the delivery of certain types of traffic, such as video services,” the BSG said.

“It is not yet clear whether this will in fact happen, but if managed services do emerge, this new code of practice will help to ensure that consumers and policy makers have access to clear and comparable information about the services being offered.”

BSkyB, BT, O2, TalkTalk, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone were all expected to sign up to the code today, with the signatories accounting for 90% of all fixed-line broadband customers and 60% of mobile customers in the UK, the BSG said.

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