July 12, 2011 | Jim Killock

Open Internet: how to be open about how closed you are

Today, the Broadband Stakeholder Group had the second meeting discussing what to do to protect the Open Internet: a process started after Ed vaizey’s meeting including Sir Tim Berners-Leee.

Today was what should have been the easy part: talking about transparency of ISPs over network discrimination, or “traffic management”. You can see that all major ISPs have now published a standardized policy such as this from Sky or this (sigh) jpg from Virgin

However, it emerged in discussions that:

  1. The policies are not especially transparent without understanding the real policies, especially for developers. What for instance is "P2P" including or not including? What is “game” traffic?
  2. They are published in fairly poor and varied manners currently, without explanation as to how they may be reused, if there are copyright issues; open formats and licenses could help here
  3. There were a number of appeals for the "real" or raw information sao developers and tech-savvy customers could understand what is really happening, and indeed verify it,
  4. There were questions around verification, including independent verification, and customer tools to verify the information

The substantive question: whether transparency would work or not was not really discussed. But it is at least useful, especially if real transparency is created. If you have suggestions as to what data you would like to see, or how customers should analyse and verify the data, please let us know.