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ISP Entanet Tells Ofcom to End UK Mobile Operator Imposed VoIP Blocks

Thursday, March 8th, 2012 (1:22 pm) - Score 829

Business ISP Entanet, a UK telecoms and internet supplier, has suggested that the national communications regulator (Ofcom) must “be prepared to step in” and force Mobile Network Operators (MNO) to stop their “anti-competitive practices” (e.g. blocking VoIP traffic) by protecting Net Neutrality (the principal of treating all internet traffic as equal).

Entanet’s comments came as part of a reply to recent concerns from the UK Internet Telephony Services Providers’ Association (ITSPA), a trade body for the Voice over IP (VoIP) industry, which earlier this year warned that several Mobile Broadband operators (specifically Vodafone, T-Mobile and Orange UK) continued to “prohibit the use of VoIP and other streaming services in a substantial number of their tariffs” (detailed report).

Entanets Statement (Blog)

We’re with ITSPA on this, even though we understand why mobile operators want to protect their voice revenues. As we’ve stated on this site many times before, we believe net neutrality should be protected and the blocking and restriction practices of MNOs that has been identified by ITSPA’s report are clear breaches of it. Such anti-competitive practices clearly illustrate the reasoning behind calls to enforce net neutrality.

It’s encouraging to hear that the Government is continuing its discussions with industry and we hope that the suggested self-regulatory solutions will solve this issue. If they don’t though, Ofcom will need to be prepared to step in and enforce this in order to protect innovation and eliminate this anti-competitive behaviour. Whether or not Ofcom has the power to do so effectively remains to be seen.”

The UK government’s Communications Minister, Ed Vaizey, is due to meet with ISPs and mobile operators at the end of this month (28th March 2012). It’s widely expected that a new Voluntary Code of Practice will surface during the discussions, although how effective it will be remains to be seen. Both the ITSPA and Entanet question whether such measures would be “truly enforceable“.

The meeting had originally been due to take place at the end of January 2012 but the new code wasn’t quite ready.

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Mark Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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