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Net neutrality

Net neutrality means that you should be able to reach the entire Internet through you Internet connection, and that traffic should be treated equally, that is to say, treated irrespective of sender, receiver, terminal equipment, application, service and content. Net neutrality is codified in law in Norway, and Nkom's main task related to regulating net neutrality in the Norwegian market is to closely monitor and ensure compliance with the net neutrality rules.

The goal of the net neutrality regulation is to ensure that the Internet remains an open and non-discriminatory platform for all types of communication and distribution of content. For Norwegian consumers and citizens, net neutrality is important to ensure access to communication services, freedom of speech and democracy. Net neutrality is an end-user right safeguarded by the law.

The net neutrality rules

From a practical point of view, this means that when you subscribe to an Internet access service, the Internet service provider is not allowed to block or throttle individual applications, such as streaming or file sharing. The end-users themselves are free to choose how to use their Internet connection. However, there are reasonable exceptions from this, which allows providers to intervene against cyberattacks or to comply with court orders, for example.
Internet service providers may offer other services in parallel to the Internet access service, so-called specialised services, typically to ensure quality of service for real-time communications. Well-known examples are VoLTE voice calling on mobile networks and linear IPTV broadcasting with specific quality requirements. The rules requires Internet service providers that offers specialised services to provide sufficient network capacity to ensure that the Internet access service is not degraded.

Regulation and guidelines

The net neutrality rules consist of several elements. Paragraph 2-16 of the Electronic Communications Act authorises introduction of regulations on net neutrality. Furthermore, paragraph 1-12 of the regulations states that Regulation 2015/2120 shall apply as a Norwegian regulation. The detailed net neutrality provisions are contained in Regulation 2015/2120. Finally, BEREC’s net neutrality guidelines provide guidance on the implementation of the Regulation by national regulators.