The UK Broadband Stakeholder Group today published a voluntary “Open Internet Code of Practice” (available here). The code of practice includes a requirement that signatories:
1. Ensure that full and open internet access products, with no blocked services, will be the norm within their portfolio of products.
2. Provide greater transparency in instances where certain classes of legal content, applications and/or services are unavailable on a product. These products will not be marketed as “internet access” and signatories will be obliged to ensure that any restrictions are clearly communicated to consumers.
3. Not target and degrade the content or applications of specific providers.
These proposals include the requirement that where certain applications and/or services are unavailable broadband access will not be marketed as “internet access”. This approach simplifies the choice between open internet access and other forms of access for consumers without requiring them to consider detailed terms and conditions. The approach, which provides a nudge towards the open internet, was proposed in a Plum report “The open internet – a platform for growth” prepared for the BBC, Blinkbox, Channel 4, Skype and Yahoo! and published in October 2011 (available here).