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Regulators and law don't protect UK net neutrality

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Major ISPs, though, are likely to put the change into their terms and conditions. This would leave consumers no course of action other than to accept the service limitation or leave the ISP.

BT declined to comment, only saying that an executive's comments to the Financial Times newspaper last week accurately reflected its position.

“We can’t give the content providers a completely free ride and continue to give customers the [service] they want at the price they expect,” BT's managing director of the consumer business John Petter told the paper.

A BBC spokesman told OUT-LAW Radio that it did not believe that it should pay ISPs for the delivery of its content, and that the iPlayer "only makes up a small percentage of total internet traffic in the UK".

Which?'s McGlade said that a changed contract might lead to action under the Unfair Terms in Consumer Contracts Regulations, which say that any contract term which is unfair is unenforceable.

Technology law expert Struan Robertson of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM, said that it would only be unfair under those regulations if consumers were forced to stay with that ISP and accept the terms, however.

"If people have the opportunity to just walk away and join another provider I doubt there will be an issue," he said.

The OUT-LAW Radio report, 'Can UK users fight web throttling', can be heard here.

Copyright © 2009, OUT-LAW.com

OUT-LAW.COM is part of international law firm Pinsent Masons.

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