Dutch regulator okays throttling on public Wi-Fi spots

January 1, 2014 14.18 Europe/London By Robert Briel

WiFiThe Netherlands Consumer and Market Authority (ACM) has granted T-Mobile authority to restrict some data intensive services on the Wi-Fi network it provides to NS, the national railway operator.

People traveling on Dutch trains will no longer be able to watch videos from YouTube or listen to music from Spotify. T-Mobile is the exclusive provider of free Wi-Fi spots on the Dutch NS trains.

The country has a net-neutrality law that ordinarily prevents telecoms networks from blocking or affecting services, but the ACM found that an exemption exists to prevent “traffic jams” on shared networks where necessary.

“As travelers look for, for example, movies on their laptop, tablet or mobile phone, then you have other travelers that are bothered because reduced capacity is available for connection,” the ACM said in a statement.

By blocking data intensive services the regulator aims to ensure reasonable access for all users of the railway Wi-Fi service.