VoIP Blocking and Europe

Posted by CJD on September 4, 2012

Many people complain about “Europe;” its bureaucracy, cost and interference in national concerns. I’m not one of those people but even if you are, one initiative that you, as VoIP user, should get involved with is the European Commission’s Digital Agenda for Europe.

“This public consultation seeks responses to specific questions on transparency, switching and certain aspects of traffic management which emerged as key issues in the net neutrality debate that has taken place in Europe over the past years.”

Sounds a little dull doesn’t it? It may well be, but it’s critical to the future of VoIP because some large network companies are trying to block VoIP traffic on their networks.

Here’s what the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) found when they investigated it:

“The BEREC Traffic Management Investigation results provide a good overview of traffic management practices in Europe. The most frequently reported restrictions are the blocking and/or throttling of peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic, on both fixed and mobile networks, and the blocking of VoIP (Internet telephony) traffic on mobile networks. Over 400 operators participated in the investigation which showed that at least 20% of all Internet users, and potentially up to half of EU mobile broadband users, have contracts that allow their Internet service provider (ISP) to restrict services like VoIP or P2P. According to the BEREC report among those fixed and mobile operators with contractual restrictions on P2P 96% and 88%, respectively, enforce them technically. Contractual restrictions on VoIP are technically enforced by more than half (56%) of the mobile operators with such restrictions in their contracts.”

Here in the UK our own investigations at ITSPA have found that some of the largest mobile operators block VoIP – in our view very unfairly – and are refusing to sign the industry code of practice document governing it.

“Three of the largest communications providers have not signed up to a new code of practice to support the Open Internet. The new voluntary code, set forth by the Broadband Stakeholder Group has had ten signatories including the largest broadband providers in the UK, but Virgin Media, Vodafone and Everything Everywhere have opted not to sign.”

For your information, these are the good guys – vote with your wallet:

BE, BT, BSkyB, KCOM, giffgaff, O2, Plusnet, TalkTalk, Tesco Mobile, Three

If you would like to take part in the European Commission’s consultation – and please, please, do – you’ll find the questionnaire here:


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