ARKEP opens consultation on implementation of net neutrality rules

12 Jul 2017

In a flurry of activity, Kosovo’s telecoms watchdog, the Regulatory Authority for Post and Electronic Communications (Autoriteti Rregullator i Komunikimeve Elektronike dhe Postare, ARKEP), published five decisions last week, including opening up public consultation on three amendments to existing regulations, revolving mainly around net neutrality. All three consultations last from 7 July to 21 August 2017.

Decision No.1029, 046/B/17 opened the public consultation on a proposed change to Regulation No. 20 On The Quality of Electronic Communications Services. The amendment looks to provide customers with greater clarity regarding the download speed they can expect from their broadband plans. ARKEP has proposed including definitions for minimum, maximum and ‘usual’ speeds, referring respectively to the lowest download speed guaranteed for a particular service plan, the speed advertised by the ISP for the plan, and the typical speed that customers could expect to experience. Under the updated rules, operators would have to guarantee minimum data transfer rates of no less than 20% of the maximum or advertised rate for fixed networks, whilst download speeds for mobile broadband must be greater than 256kbps. In order for ARKEP to monitor compliance with the rules, ISPs would be required to submit their expected minimum, maximum and average speeds for 2018 by 1 February 2018. The providers must then measure internet access speeds for 2018 – using a methodology specified by the watchdog – and submit the data to the regulator by 1 February 2019.

Decision No.130, 047/B/17, meanwhile, invites comments regarding more wide-ranging amendments to Regulation No.25, Regulations on General Authorisations. The amendment chiefly concerns the implementation of net neutrality measures, enshrining consumer’s rights to non-discriminatory access and detailing the traffic management measures permitted for operators. Also included in the amendment is an update to reflect Kosovo’s recent allocation of its own international direct dialling code (IDD). Whereas previously operators were instructed to use the National (NSPC) and International Signalling Point Codes (ISPC) agreed via commercial agreements with other providers, under the amended rules NSPC, ISPC and Mobile Country Codes (MCCs) will be assigned to operators by the regulator.

Decision No.131, 048/B/17 opens public consultation on changes to Regulation No.28 For Contracts, Transparency and Disclosure of Information and Other Safeguards for End Users For the Provision of Electronic Communications Networks and Services, and looks to update the regulations in line with the aforementioned amendments. As such, ARKEP has proposed introducing a new article covering requirements relating to net neutrality issues, and obligations for ISPs to disclose minimum, maximum and typical download speeds for plans within customer contracts.

Finally, the last two decisions (No.132 and No.133) concern the allocation of a block of 100,000 numbers to MVNO Dardafone (which offers services under the Z Mobile brand), and the postponement of ARKEP’s market analysis of wholesale access to broadband infrastructure.