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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Neelie: the market's not working, consumers don't read - so let's give them even more info they won't read...

You couldn't make it up: " in nearly all Member States, most if not all ISPs offer fixed and mobile Internet access services that are not subject to such restrictions. According to the BEREC figures 85% of all fixed ISPs and 76% of all mobile ISPs propose at least one unrestricted offer. So the market is generally providing choice, but in some countries the choices are quite limited in some EU countries.
But are customers really empowered to choose well? Do they realise what they are signing up for? I didn’t read all the pages in my mobile contract and I bet you didn’t either! I believe we all need more transparent information." This is extraordinary dereliction, given pretty clear BEREC evidence which is at leats honest that is was supplying an anonymous snapshot of ISP-supplied data (Q: 'Are you guilty or not?' Defendant: 'Not guilty, you honour'). Let them eat small print...
That said, some of the small print will be useful, not to stop ISPs blocking Skype and monkeying around with P2P, but to force enough information out that the Commission will have to act in 2-3 years, when Neelie is no longer Commissioner (on this, I miss Reding):
1. Clear information on actual, real-life broadband speeds [1] at peak times; [2] upload as well as the download speed [3] minimum speed, if applicable [4] speed of Internet when also using a premium “managed” service.
2. Clear, quantified data ceilings NOT vague “fair use” policies that leave too much discretion to ISPs, which she ambitiously believes "incentivise ISPs to price data volumes in ways that reflect costs, and so support investment in modernising networks as traditional voice revenues decline." Good luck with that.
3. "consumers also need to know if they are getting Champagne or lesser sparkling wine. If it is not full Internet, it shouldn’t be marketed as such; perhaps it shouldn’t be marketed as “Internet” at all, at least not without any upfront qualification." Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps...meanwhile, hard consumer evidence on smartphone blocking and sales practices helps the dossier?

1 comment:

Ian Brown said...

At the very least, it should me marketed as limited Internet, or Internet* (*Skype, streaming video and other similar services are blocked)