Virgin Media, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere all reject the Open Internet Code of Practice

UK ISPs divided over internet code of practice

A code of conduct designed to guarantee "full and open access" to the web has split leading UK internet service providers.

Whilst ten ISPs including BT, 02 and TalkTalk all backed the agreement, which promises not to restrict or block web content unless there was a reason to deploy "reasonable traffic management practices", others have opted out.

Virgin Media has stated that the principles laid out within the agreement were too vague.

"These principles remain open to misinterpretation and potential exploitation so, while we welcome efforts to reach a broad consensus to address future potential issues, we will be seeking greater clarity before we consider signing," said a spokesman.

Vodafone has also refused to pledge support, saying the code was "impractical" and would affect the way it marketed a number of its subscription packages.

"These plans offer internet access to smartphone and dongle users, but under the code we would have been unable to use the phrase ‘internet access’ to describe many of the services enjoyed by customers," a spokesman explained.

Everything Everywhere complete the rundown of UK ISPs who have opted out of the agreement, stating it is simply not ready to adopt the scheme.

The refusal from ISPs has been surprising, as the Open Internet Code of Practice builds off of an earlier traffic managment agreement, which all three hold out company’s initially agreed to.

Additions to the original agreement include:

ISPs promise open and full access to the net across their range of products.

Firms cannot market a subscription package as including "internet access" if certain kinds of legal content or services are banned

Members must not target and degrade content or applications offered by a specific rival.

There are exceptions to the new rules however, such as sites and services which have been blocked by court order, use of parental blocks deployed to keep children safe, and the imposition of data caps that are part of a user’s contract.

ISPs will also be able to manage congestion on the network if too many people use bandwidth-heavy services simultaneously.

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