Router Freedom is the right of customers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) to choose and use a private modem and router instead of a router that the ISP forces them to use. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) drafted guidelines for national agencies how to deal with Router Freedom in their countries. The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) provided mixed feedback to an ongoing public consulation.
The status of Router Freedom in Europe differs from country to country as the monitoring by the FSFE shows. The core of the debate is the question of where the Network Termination Point (NTP) is located. This defines where the network of the ISP ends and where the network of the user begins. If the modem and router are considered part of the ISP's infrastructure, a user cannot claim sovereignty of their communication and security.
The patchwork rug of different rules may change soon as BEREC, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications, has been commissioned to create guidelines for the National Regulatory Agencies (NRAs) and help them with implementing European regulation in a harmonised way. BEREC's current draft of the guidelines is up for public consultation until 21 November 2019. We analysed this draft and the EU Directives and Regulations it references, and provided our conclusion in a brief document.In short, BEREC puts three different models forward to discussion:
Understandably, we argued in favour of making point A the network termination point to establish and protect freedom of choice, privacy and data protection, fair competition of device manufacturers, as well as security. Furthermore, we made a few suggestions to improve the guidelines and their implementation by the National Regulatory Agencies:
You can still participate in the public consultation by just sharing your feedback on the draft BEREC guidelines by sending an e-mail to them before 21 November 2019 17:00 CET. It's a short deadline, so feel free to use our full response as an inspiration.
If you need more arguments in favour of Router Freedom, please read our summary page. For individuals and groups who want to become even more active for Router Freedom, we have created an activity package with more background information, experience reports of how the FSFE managed to turn the situation around in Germany, and other tips and tricks.