Some of the UK’s biggest broadband providers will today sign up to a new voluntary agreement to provider better information to consumers about traffic management.
BSkyB, BT, O2, TalkTalk, Three, Virgin Media and Vodafone have agreed to make sure consumers have access to more easily comparable information about traffic management practices from different providers.
These companies account for 90% of all fixed-line broadband customers and 60% of all mobile customers in the UK, according to the Broadband Stakeholder Group (BSG).
The code was facilitated by the BSG along with the internet service providers themselves.
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Traffic management transparency code
The voluntary code includes three requirements:
- To provide more information to consumers about what traffic management takes place, for what purpose and with what impact.
- To comply with a set of good practice principles on providing information to the consumer that is: understandable, appropriate, accessible, current, comparable and verifiable.
- To publish a common Key Facts Indicator (KPI) table which summarises that traffic management practices they use for each broadband product to be available on the providers website by June 2011.
The code will be piloted in 2011 and reviewed in 2012 . BSG hopes that more broadband providers will sign up to the code following its launch.
What is traffic management?
Traffic management is a practice that a number of internet providers use to ensure a consistent service across its network. It generally only effects heavy users at peak times.
Which? believes that where traffic management or other fair usage policies apply, this should be made clear to the consumer and not hidden in the small print.
Antony Walker, Chief Executive of the Broadband Stakeholder Group says: ‘This commitment to provider clear and comparable information in a common format is very important. It will not only help to ensure consumers are better informed about the services they buy and use, but will also provide a clearer picture for policy makers of the way in which traffic management is actually used in the UK market’.
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