Monitoring compliance with the net neutrality rules

01 November 2021

‘Net neutrality’, sometimes also referred to as the ‘open internet’, is the principle of ensuring that users of the internet can control what they see and do online – not the internet service provider (ISP) that connects them to the internet. In 2016, a European Union (EU) Regulation containing rules aimed at protecting the principle of the ‘open internet’ came into force (the Regulation). The aim of these rules is to “safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic in the provision of internet access services (IASs) and related end-users’ rights” and “guarantee the continued functioning of the internet ecosystem as an engine of innovation”.

To secure these goals, the Regulation imposes measures dealing with the way ISPs manage data traffic on their networks. It also places obligations on ISPs about the terms and conditions of, as well as information contained in, customer contracts for the provision of IASs.

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, with a transition period until 31 December 2020. Following the end of this period, the EU rules on net neutrality became part of domestic UK law.

Ofcom is responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the net neutrality rules in the UK and is required to publish an annual report of its findings.

Ofcom Frameworks

As part of its monitoring and compliance work, Ofcom has published a statement which contains our approach to assessing compliance with certain aspects of the Open Internet Regulation, based on our experience to date. This statement is intended to help raise ISPs’ awareness of the compliance issues that can arise under the Open Internet Regulation and to assist ISPs in planning their services and assessing their own compliance with the Regulation.

Ofcom is responsible for monitoring and ensuring compliance with the net neutrality rules in the UK and is required to publish an annual report of its findings. The publishing of this report fulfils our duty in this regard. This our fifth annual report and covers the period May 2020 to October 2021.

A report on our approach to monitoring and ensuring compliance with the Open Internet Regulation from May 2020 to October 2021 (PDF, 308.6 KB)