Industry

Quality Parameters for the Internet Access Services

Until 20 January 2012, all the Internet access providers have the obligation to include a set of quality indicators for the Internet access service in the contracts concluded with the end-users.
Until 1 January 2012, the providers have the obligation to publish a procedure on the quality parameters measurement.
The first data concerning these parameters, for the first quarter reporting period, will be made public on the providers’ websites by 25 April 2012.

Technical quality parameters

The Internet access providers will have the obligation to include in the contracts the following technical quality parameters:
  • data transfer speed - the contracts will specify the nominal/maximum data transfer speed and the guaranteed minimum data transfer speed. If the provider does not ensure a guaranteed minimum speed, then the respective provider will explicitly mention this in the contract and in the general conditions. Most Internet access services are best effort-type, their quality depending, to a large extent, on the way the providers plan their networks.
  • transfer delay, if the provider ensures a guaranteed value;
  • transfer delay variation, if the provider ensures a guaranteed value;
  • packet loss rate, if the provider ensures a guaranteed value.
ANCOM created an interactive application - Netograf.ro -  to enable the users to measure themselves the technical quality indicators of their provider. ANCOM will prepare and publish, on a quarterly basis, statistical data on these quality indicators so as to offer the users an overview on the quality of the service offered by the Internet access providers.

Administrative quality parameters

The Internet access providers will include in the contracts a series of administrative quality parameters such as:
  • the term from which the Internet access will be provided, expressed in calendar days;
  • the damage repair term, expressed in hours;
  • the term of solving the users’ complaints, expressed in hours.
The providers will quarterly publish on their websites the values of the aforementioned parameters and, in addition, the frequency of the user’s complaints, the frequency of the damage-related complaints and the frequency of the billing accuracy-related complaints. The providers will keep posted on their websites complete and exact data on these indicators in order to enable the end-users to access the values corresponding to the last four quarters as well.

Net Neutrality
 
Net neutrality is the principle according to which all the electronic communications sent over a network must be treated equally, irrespective of their content, applications, technology, service, equipment (device), sender or receiver. Furthermore, the principle of net neutrality allows the implementation of traffic management practices with a view to ensuring network performance optimization.
 
The debate on this issue approaches mainly the manner of keeping the open character of the Internet network, while ensuring the best quality of the internet access service for all the users, fostering innovation and observing fundamental rights, such as the freedom of expression and the freedom of conducting a commercial activity, in the context of the exponential traffic growth, which generates consistent investment and costs.
 
ANCOM proposed analysing the principle of net neutrality from the perspective of several action lines (traffic management practices, service quality, transparency, aspects regarding competition and IP interconnection). This analysis is synthesized in the Report on net neutrality, aimed at informing the interested persons on this concept and at offering details on the technical aspects of this topical issue at the European level.