U.K. regulators set up discussion on need for Internet traffic regulations

The U.S. isn't the only place where regulators are looking at net neutrality with more than passing interest. The British Office of Communications (more commonly known as Ofcom) has launched its own study of Internet traffic flows and whether any ISPs are engaging in "anti-competitive behaviour (to) suppress the quality of content from provider services," the agency said in a news release.

Right now, Ofcom is only in the preliminary stages of looking at the subject, although the agency does say it has "some existing powers and duties which could be applied to traffic management." Mainly, it's opening up a discussion about whether consumers know how the traffic they're buying is being delivered and managed.

"New EU (European Union) rules give regulators a clear responsibility to address the emerging issues around traffic management. The question is how Ofcom uses these and existing powers to further the interests of consumers while supporting vibrant, innovative content product and network deployment," said Ofcom Chief Executive Ed Richards in the news release.

It's an issue, of course, that's also facing U.S. regulators and elected officials, as highlighted in a Senate Commerce Committee hearing about migrating the Universal Service Fund to broadband. The senators, among other things, are concerned that the FCC's power to deliver on a national broadband plan that governs Internet usage was "dangerously undermined" by a court ruling that basically said that the FCC couldn't punish Comcast for throttling some users it accused of abusing its bandwidth.

For more:
- see this news release
- and this story

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