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ACM study: telecom providers treat their internet traffic according to the rules

A study conducted by the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has revealed that measures taken by Dutch telecom providers aimed at managing internet traffic on their networks meet the statutory requirement of equal treatment of all internet traffic.

Study into internet traffic management measures

ACM launched the study in order to gain more insight into traffic management, which can be described as a set of techniques that are used for managing internet traffic on telecom networks. As part of that study, ACM examined whether Dutch telecom providers use measures that treat internet traffic differently based on content or applications. This turned out not to be the case. Furthermore, all providers have put into place processes to ensure that their traffic management measures comply with the rules regarding net neutrality. Prompted by the discussions with ACM, several providers clarified their information on traffic management in the general terms and conditions. ACM has therefore concluded that traffic management of the telecom providers meets the requirements of net neutrality.

Net neutrality

ACM is charged with the enforcement of net neutrality rules. In Europe, internet providers must treat similar categories of internet traffic equally. That means they are not allowed to block or unnecessarily restrict traffic. However, providers are allowed to take measures aimed at managing internet traffic, but such measures cannot make any distinction based on content or applications.

Assessment handbook

ACM has published the results of the study in order to offer telecom providers information about traffic management and the thereto-related rules. Those rules are further explained in a handbook, which includes several examples. This handbook also contains questions that ACM uses in its assessment of traffic management measures. These questions may help telecom providers make the right choices with regard to traffic management.

Telecom providers and other market participants that have any questions about traffic managements measures can contact ACM.

See also

09-01-2020 Traffic Management – A handbook (in Dutch)