BT consumer boss presses on net neutrality reform - Mobile World Live

BT consumer boss presses on net neutrality reform

03 DEC 2021

Marc Allera, CEO of BT Group’s consumer division, reiterated calls for a major shake-up of net neutrality rules in the UK, arguing the current principles around an open internet are out of date and could potentially hold back modern technologies.

Allera’s latest statement on the issue was prompted by what he said was the highest peak of traffic of 25.5Tb/s flowing on BT’s fixed network, recorded on 1 December, driven by the popularity of streaming football matches.

He said this was 12 per cent higher than a peak set in December 2020.

While Allera insisted BT invests to ensure networks can cope with such peaks, he warned “as demand grows further down the decade we can see potential problems coming down the line”, without explaining exactly what these could be.

Allera first called for net neutrality rules in the UK to be eased in March, highlighting the impact of Covid-19 (coronavirus) which caused huge data traffic on certain sites and resulted in higher costs for mobile operators.

Regulator Ofcom is currently reviewing the rules.

No longer working
In his latest push, Allera noted net neutrality rules were introduced to “prevent any discrimination of traffic, in particular that might limit smaller players who were unable to compete with the largest”.

But, he claimed these principles were “no longer working for everyone in the ecosystem”.

“The net is not neutral and becomes less so yearly: a quick glance at our own network data suggests that at peak times up to 80 per cent of traffic, and therefore capacity on our network, comes from just a handful of companies.”

Allera didn’t offer any concrete solutions, but explained the evolution of the internet from an era of simple web pages to “an ultra-complex system of streams, casts, on-demands and now, a promised metaverse”, meant a shake-up was essential.

“The rules that once signalled fairness are out of date and serve only to support the concentration of services, not support their diversity,” he concluded.

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Kavit Majithia

Kavit joined Mobile World Live in May 2015 as Content Editor. He started his journalism career at the Press Association before joining Euromoney’s graduate scheme in April 2010. Read More >>

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