ANACOM calls for compliance with determinations and recommendations guaranteeing open Internet access

Between May 2018 and April 2019, ANACOM completed a series of initiatives seeking to safeguard Internet neutrality, taking into account the obligations set out in the TSM Regulation. One such initiative entailed approval of the decision on zero-rating and similar offers in Portugal, which determined rectification of these offers. The operators concerned corrected the offers, complying with ANACOM's determination on network neutrality and international roaming.

However, as a result of its oversight actions, ANACOM has detected certain shortcomings in terms of transparency in guaranteeing open Internet access, in contracts and on the websites of leading operators, specifically as regards the information made available on Internet access speeds. Operators were therefore alerted to the need to ensure compliance with requirements as regards provision of the information concerned, in accordance with the TSM Regulation. They were asked to provide information on the measures adopted or to be adopted in this regard, and on the timetable for implementation and date of conclusion. From information received in the meantime, it is concluded that some providers have already started or will soon embark on the implementation of measures, to be concluded by the end of August of this year, to correct the situations identified.

ANACOM will continue to monitor this situation, in particular by checking the websites of Internet providers and subscription contracts, along with any changes made.

All this information is included in a report produced by ANACOM on compliance with the TSM Regulation, which has now been circulated and forwarded to the European Commission.

ANACOM will also continue to analyse this type of offer in order to assess whether, due to its characteristics, it is detrimental to the rights of end-users. This analysis is particularly pertinent given the wide range of zero-rating and similar offers, which in many cases are characterised by general data allowances with reduced data volumes.

In this context, it is stressed that it is important for operators to implement the recommendations made by ANACOM, increasing general data allowances in their mobile Internet access offers and bringing them more into line with traffic volumes allowed under specific allowances. This will ensure that users enjoy freedom of choice between content, applications and services available through Internet access.

It is also strongly recommended that providers publish the specific conditions imposed on entities potentially interested in having their respective applications/contents included in zero-rated and similar offers, including the time taken to respond to such requests. This makes it possible to extend the benefits of open Internet to the offer side, giving opportunity for the development of new products and digital platforms in an environment of diverse innovation which is open and free.