Home » 

UK ISP News Archives

 » 
Sponsored Links

UK Broadband ISPs Have Free Rein to Block Content Providers

Posted: 20th Jun, 2009 By: MarkJ
OUT-LAW.COM, an online legal information site, has warned that neither regulators nor law protect Net Neutrality (restriction free access to legal online content and services) in the UK, where ISPs are free to block content from those that do not pay them to deliver it.

OUT-LAW Radio investigated whether there was any legal barrier in the UK to an ISP slowing or blocking access to video services, such as the iPlayer or YouTube, and found that there are none. As long as an ISP explains its actions in its Fair Use Policy (FUP) or statements of Terms and Conditions (T&C) then it is permitted to block whatever it likes.

In other words, if your ISP decided that you couldn't access the YouTube website unless you paid them extra then you would have no choice but to accept. A spokeswoman for telecoms regulator Ofcom said that ISPs all had to abide by its General Conditions, but that these did not specify that all Internet traffic had to be treated equally. Ofcom considered the matter but never reached any conclusions.

A lawyer at consumer protection body Which?'s legal division added that consumers would only have grounds for complaint if a connection was interfered with without notification.

"The Supply of Goods and Services Act relates to their broadband contract so basically there is an obligation there to provide the service that was previously promised and as described," said Stephen McGlade of Which? Legal Services. "If there is any situation where the internet connection is reduced in some way obviously one would have to look at the service contract, at the terms and conditions, to see what it says in relation to that service agreement."

Naturally some degree of traffic management is often necessary, especially on budget priced broadband services, to help balance network load and give everybody a reasonable service. The problem is that the absence of Net Neutrality can also have a darker side, where UK ISPs effectively have the power to censor the entire Internet; not that 'most' of them would want to.

Imagine if you were only allowed to view selected websites or content. For example, consider the outcry if the boss of an ISP with a dislike for the BBC decided to block their websites and content (not unlike this recent BT-vs-BBC episode). There are clearly some very sensitive political as well as service implications.

It is, in our view, patently absurd for any ISP to suggest that legal content developers should pay them (the ISP) for the delivery of their content. Content is what makes the Internet what it is and, while the costs of bandwidth may not always be cheap, it is ultimately the consumer that has to pay for what they use; just like your gas, water or electricity supply.
Search ISP News
Search ISP Listings
Search ISP Reviews
 Latest UK ISP News
 Cheap BIG ISPs for 100Mbps+
Community Fibre UK ISP Logo
150Mbps
Gift: None
NOW UK ISP Logo
NOW £25.00
100Mbps
Gift: None
Virgin Media UK ISP Logo
Virgin Media £25.00
132Mbps
Gift: None
Vodafone UK ISP Logo
Vodafone £26.50 - 27.00
150Mbps
Gift: None
Plusnet UK ISP Logo
Plusnet £27.99
145Mbps
Gift: None
150,000+ Customers | View More ISPs
 Cheapest ISPs for 100Mbps+
Gigaclear UK ISP Logo
Gigaclear £17.00
200Mbps
Gift: None
Community Fibre UK ISP Logo
150Mbps
Gift: None
BeFibre UK ISP Logo
BeFibre £19.00
150Mbps
Gift: None
YouFibre UK ISP Logo
YouFibre £21.99
150Mbps
Gift: None
Hey! Broadband UK ISP Logo
150Mbps
Gift: None
Modest Availability | View More ISPs
Cheap BIG ISPs for 100Mbps+
Community Fibre UK ISP Logo
150Mbps
Gift: None
NOW UK ISP Logo
NOW £25.00
100Mbps
Gift: None
Virgin Media UK ISP Logo
Virgin Media £25.00
132Mbps
Gift: None
Vodafone UK ISP Logo
Vodafone £26.50 - 27.00
150Mbps
Gift: None
Plusnet UK ISP Logo
Plusnet £27.99
145Mbps
Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
Cheapest ISPs for 100Mbps+
Gigaclear UK ISP Logo
Gigaclear £17.00
200Mbps
Gift: None
Community Fibre UK ISP Logo
150Mbps
Gift: None
BeFibre UK ISP Logo
BeFibre £19.00
150Mbps
Gift: None
YouFibre UK ISP Logo
YouFibre £21.99
150Mbps
Gift: None
Hey! Broadband UK ISP Logo
150Mbps
Gift: None
Large Availability | View All
Sponsored Links
The Top 15 Category Tags
  1. FTTP (5649)
  2. BT (3547)
  3. Politics (2578)
  4. Openreach (2327)
  5. Business (2304)
  6. Building Digital UK (2263)
  7. FTTC (2054)
  8. Mobile Broadband (2015)
  9. Statistics (1815)
  10. 4G (1703)
  11. Virgin Media (1654)
  12. Ofcom Regulation (1485)
  13. Fibre Optic (1414)
  14. Wireless Internet (1410)
  15. FTTH (1382)
Sponsored

Copyright © 1999 to Present - ISPreview.co.uk - All Rights Reserved - Terms  ,  Privacy and Cookie Policy  ,  Links  ,  Website Rules