Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 15th Aug 2010 20:28 UTC
Internet & Networking Lots of talk on net neutrality this week, mostly due to the joint policy proposal from Google and Verzion. While many Americans are calling for government-imposed net neutrality rules, The New York Times' Eric Pfanner proposes a different solution - one that has been working wonders in Europe. And hey, what a coincidence - I'm European!
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Sweden
by Creap on Sun 15th Aug 2010 20:54 UTC
Creap
Member since:
2009-08-05

In Sweden there are dozens providers of broadband via the phone lines (ADSL), and if you live in a bigger city, you might have another dozen of cable broadband providers.

We do have some monopolish situations in some houses where one cable provider (Com Hem) own the lines, though. But of course you can still have another ADSL provider or 3G broadband.

Some smaller ISPs stress the importance of privacy and refuse to cooperate with Copyright enforcement agencies unless hit with a court order. Some even provide anonymous VPN services. Is the situation in the Netherlands similar?

Reply Score: 3

RE: Sweden
by wirespot on Mon 16th Aug 2010 10:22 in reply to "Sweden"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

Please correct me if I am wrong, but switching ISP in Europe is not as easy as you guys make it seem. The fierce competition has made them offer long-term contracts only, with heavy penalties for early termination.

So yes, at first, when you are not yet committed, choosing a provider is easy. But once you do, you are tied for at least the first year, and to switch you have to either prove you are relocating outside their coverage or to wait for the contract term to run out. (Well, at least they accept relocation as an excuse. In the US you often can't get away with that and have to pay the penalty regardless.)

Or you pay the penalty, which is large enough to make it lucrative for the provider and unpleasant for you. I seem to recall hearing that often it is larger than the strict equivalent of the remaining months in the contract, which gives the provider a nice little bonus. Moreso if you consider the fact they will not, in fact, have any associated costs for that period.

It may be that some types of services, such as mobile telephony or satellite television, can be purchased on a "pay as you go" basis, without a long term contract. But anything that involves landlines is most likely going to require a contract, which is automatically a long term one.

So, while the services may be excellent and choice abundant, there's a downside, and Europe is not exactly perfect either when you get down to it.

Edited 2010-08-16 10:27 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Sweden
by Odisej on Mon 16th Aug 2010 10:52 in reply to "RE: Sweden"
Odisej Member since:
2006-05-11

Well, you only pay penalty if you receive something additional, like a laptop or HDTV or whatever. In that case the contract lasts for up to two years. But if you only subscribe to Internet service there are no strings attached. At least it is so in my country. By law.

As far as this mantra of "free market works" goes. Be assured that European ISPs are following American debates very closely. And if there will be no additional laws guaranteeing net neutrality they will always follow the smell of money. It is in their nature. Regardless of where they come from.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Sweden
by olefiver on Mon 16th Aug 2010 11:04 in reply to "RE: Sweden"
olefiver Member since:
2008-04-04

Please correct me if I am wrong, but switching ISP in Europe is not as easy as you guys make it seem. The fierce competition has made them offer long-term contracts only, with heavy penalties for early termination. So yes, at first, when you are not yet committed, choosing a provider is easy. But once you do, you are tied for at least the first year, and to switch you have to either prove you are relocating outside their coverage or to wait for the contract term to run out. (Well, at least they accept relocation as an excuse. In the US you often can't get away with that and have to pay the penalty regardless.) Or you pay the penalty, which is large enough to make it lucrative for the provider and unpleasant for you. I seem to recall hearing that often it is larger than the strict equivalent of the remaining months in the contract, which gives the provider a nice little bonus.

Worked for an ISP in Norway.
The cost for early termination of an one year contract (regardless of ADSL line speed etc, you where only binded for one year), was about NOK 1.000,-
Which on the smallest contract was around 3 or 4 months of monthly fees.

If you had an ADSL line from an ISP, there was generally no cost to change provider, provided the one year binding was over.

And the ISPs handled the provider change, generally no massive paperwork for the customer required to change ISP.

Though, all of the above only applied for ADSL lines.
ISP using coax/cable is a different story.

Reply Parent Score: 1