How will regulators ensure that the rules are fully and properly implemented?
Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 laying down measures concerning open internet access – the ‘Open Internet Regulation’ – requires the National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) to ‘closely monitor and ensure compliance’ with the rules, and to ‘promote the continued availability of non-discriminatory Internet Access Services (IAS) at levels of quality that reflect advances in technology’. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) Guidelines on the implementation of the Open Internet Regulation – the ‘BEREC Open Internet Guidelines’ – explain that this encompasses various tasks for the NRAs:
- Supervision: This entails monitoring of various elements, such as the terms and conditions of contracts and the transparency of information, commercial practices, traffic management practices for IAS, and Specialised Services (SpS). The supervision will be done through assessing the market, conducting technical measurements and gathering information from various sources, such as Internet Service Providers (ISP) and end-users.
- Enforcement: The BEREC Open Internet Guidelines set out a variety of interventions that the NRAs could make. These include requiring ISPs to deal with any degradation of the IAS; requiring ISPs to cease or change problematic traffic management practices; requiring ISPs to cease providing SpS unless sufficient capacity is made available for IAS; and imposing penalties on ISPs for infringements.
- Reporting: The Open Internet Regulation requires the NRAs to provide to the European Commission and BEREC annual reports of their findings regarding the implementation of these rules. The BEREC Open Internet Guidelines set out when these annual reports should be provided and what information should be included in them.