RTR has published its second annual net neutrality report in accordance with Article 5 (1) of the TSM Regulation and para. 182-183 of the BEREC Guidelines on the implementation of the TSM Regulation.
The report, which is to be published by 30 June 2018, provides information on the state of the internet's openness in Austria in the period from 1 May 2017 to 30 April 2018 and on whether or which measures had to be taken by RTR/TKK to ensure the openness of the internet in Austria. The second (reporting) year after the implementation of the net neutrality provisions shows the first "red lines" that were drawn with regard to violations of the provisions of the TSM Regulation. Like the 2017 report, the current report also provides information on the regulatory activities on net neutrality in Austria.
The overall picture continues to be quite positive: In cases where violations of net neutrality rules occurred, the companies concerned found, in most cases, constructive solutions and implemented these (or announced their implementation) upon consultation with the authority. Thus, at the beginning of the reporting period, a large part of the procedures initiated in October 2016 could be terminated due to voluntary remedial measures by the ISPs concerned. In total, only two relevant decisions were issued during the year under review. In particular, one decision concerned the question of whether video-on-demand services could be offered as a specialized service in the context of a bundled product. The other case referred to a product that provided zero-rated music and video streaming while restricting the data transfer rate.
Thus, the experience of the second year under review – and in particular the first completed proceedings – shows that the early addressing of the subject and the numerous discussions that were conducted in advance by the authority did have the desired steering effect on companies. It has also proved useful to create the possibility for companies to discuss new product ideas with the regulatory authority in advance in regard of their compatibility with the provisions of the TSM Regulation, without prejudice to later proceedings. Therefore, from today's point of view, the provisions on net neutrality and the guidelines agreed on throughout Europe are still proving to be suitable and advantageous for a harmonized European application of the net neutrality provisions. From a regulatory point of view, there are only a few areas where immediate adjustment is needed.