Corona changes rules of the game in Austria

Austrian regulator RTR shows some flexibility in the application of the network neutrality regulations at the corona time. Namely, RTR allows operators temporary exemptions from the application of the network neutrality principle, reported Die Presse.

Austrian government, like governments in several other countries, has adopted some preventive measures to slow down the spreading of the dangerous virus. As a result, the number of home office users has significantly increased. Like with any other kind of traffic, the peaks lead to traffic jams.

In data traffic, the congestion results in slow data flows and service outages, especially video streams or teleconferences.

In order to adapt network capacities to the changed priorities, the regulator allows operators to throttle video streaming services, such as Netflix. This way, the regulator temporarily releases operators from the obligation to comply with the network neutrality.

The network neutrality principle makes part of the EU’s open internet regulation from 2016. It requires that operators treat all the traffic in a non-discriminatory manner.

In this exceptional situation, however, operators might need to prioritise some types of traffic. At the same time, however, RTR sets strict rules and means of how the operators can do that.

Some operators, e. g. A1 and Drei, shared the good news that their networks provide sufficient capacity to handle even increased traffic demand. Moreover, Netflix, ORF-TVthek and other service providers adapt video streams quality to the bandwidth. What’s more, many services compress the streams and thus enable reception in a high resolution despite low bandwidths.

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