Telecoms regulator the Belgian Institute for Postal Services and Telecommunications (BIPT) has begun a consultation regarding its draft guidelines governing the provision of ‘unlimited’ internet packages subject to a fair use policy (FUP), as it believes such offers may be in conflict with the EU’s Open Internet Regulation. Stakeholders have until 17 September to submit their comments.
Under the guidelines drawn up by the regulator, service providers would not be permitted to block internet access once the FUP threshold has been reached, while the FUP cannot in principle be applied to more than 10% of end users of the subscription plan in question. In the event this limit is exceeded, the provider would be required to increase the FUP threshold or modify its marketing and contractual conditions to remove any suggestion that ‘unlimited internet’ is available. The BIPT will take action if the operator fails to implement either of these measures within six months of surpassing the 10% limit or in the event that 20% of subscribers are hit by the FUP. In addition, the service provider must ensure its ‘reasonable use’ policy is clearly understood by customers, by providing easy to understand, precise and up-to-date information in precontractual documents, the contract itself and on its website with regard to what exceeding the FUP threshold means for the customer. The BIPT expects service providers to apply the guidelines within six months of their eventual publication.