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<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"?>
<html newsdate="2021-08-05">
<version>1</version>
<head>
<title>Dutch authority enforces Router Freedom</title>
</head>
<body>
<h1>Dutch authority enforces Router Freedom</h1>
<p>
The Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) has published new rules
that will move Router Freedom forward in the Netherlands. Within 6 months
ISPs have to comply and offer the option for
consumers and companies to connect a modem or router of their own choice.
The FSFE acknowledges this decision as a major win for consumer rights.
</p>
<p>
<a href="/activities/routers/">Router Freedom</a> is the
right that consumers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) have to choose and use a private modem and
router instead of equipment that the ISP provides. In its <a
href="https://www.acm.nl/sites/default/files/documents/beleidsregel-handhaving-besluit-eindapparaten.pdf">publication
(.pdf)</a> the Dutch Authority cites the <a
href="https://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/berec/regulatory_best_practices/guidelines/9277-berec-guidelines-on-the-implementation-of-the-open-internet-regulation">BEREC
Guidelines on the Implementation of the Open Internet Regulation</a> as the
reason for stating the <a
href="https://www.acm.nl/en/publications/consumers-and-businesses-are-allowed-choose-their-own-modems">new
rules</a>. These guidelines came about with the persistent effort of the
FSFE to draw attention to the importance of and right to Router Freedom. As
another motivation the ACM explicitly mentions the "significant" group of
users wanting to take control of their personal data and network devices.
</p>
<p>
The new regulation clarifies which part of the infrastructure falls under
the governance of the ISP and for which part the user is free to choose
their own solution. Router Freedom also implies a user is still free to
choose a modem or router offered by the ISP. It is an important step forward
that this practice will be the norm from 27 February 2022 and will be
enforced by the Dutch regulator. Although the legal aspects have been
defined now in the Netherlands, in practice Router Freedom was <a
href="https://wiki.fsfe.org/Activities/CompulsoryRouters">already tolerated
in the country</a>. Most ISPs indicated that they allow consumers to connect
their own preferred devices. One even gives consumers a discount if they use
their own router or modem.
</p>
<h2>The details</h2>
<p>
An important step forward is the explicit choice by the ACM for the Network
Termination Point (NTP). The BEREC Guidelines suggest three possible
locations, in short A) at the end of the cable B) after the modem C) after
the router or mediabox. The ACM has opted for the NTP to be at the end of
the cable, offering the maximum of flexibility to the user. This "passive"
termination point avoids users having to accept the operation of a device
outside of their control, and allows for Router Freedom.
</p>
<figure>
<img
src="https://pics.fsfe.org/uploads/big/6d6922a13499024cacf5c0872f0a65df.png"
alt="Network Termination Point (NTP) - ISP and user domain" />
<figcaption>Schematic overview of the Network Termination Point (NTP)</figcaption>
</figure>
<p>
The new rules contain statements on what service should be provided. ISPs
are allowed to publish a list of devices, but cannot limit the support to
only that list of devices. ISPs should provide the administrative measures
within one working day. ISPs maintain the ability to disconnect a user in
case damage is done to the network. For troubleshooting a policy is
described by which first the ISP has to check it is not their network that
is faulty, after which the user can be requested to use a known working
device provided by the ISP to verify it is not the different modem or router
that is at fault. In case the custom modem or router is at fault, the ISP is
allowed to request a financial compensation for providing the known working
device for testing purposes.
</p>
<h2>Space for improvement</h2>
<p>
ACM's decision is a major win for all end-users in the Netherlands. The
decision provides more clarity on the legal aspects involving the NTP.
However, ISPs' commercial practices involving routers and modems still pose
barriers against end-users' Router Freedom:
</p>
<ul>
<li>Most ISPs currently offer little to no support for users wanting to
install their own router;</li>
<li>Most ISPs demand you still lease a modem as part of the service and keep
it stored;</li>
<li>Most ISPs don't offer the same level of service like IPv6 when choosing
your own router;</li>
<li>
Some ISPs offer IPTV (streaming television) solutions that rely on
different channels than the internet service and so these mediaboxes will
not work in combination with a custom modem. This point is underscored by
the ACM as something that they will be reevaluating in the future.
</li>
</ul>
<p>
The new rules don't contain statements that will change the situation on
these points, so the FSFE will continue to call for a more robust Router
Freedom and monitor the situation in the Netherlands.
</p>
<h2>The Router Freedom initiative</h2>
<p>
Since 2013, the Free Software Foundation Europe has engaged with Router
Freedom, promoting end-users' freedom to choose and use their own terminal
equipment - first in Germany as a precedent, and now in many European
countries. Join us and learn more about the several ways to get <a
href="/news/2021/news-20210330-01.html">involved</a>.
</p>
</body>
<tags>
<tag key="front-page" />
<tag key="routers">Router Freedom</tag>
<tag key="nl">Netherlands</tag>
</tags>
<discussion href="https://community.fsfe.org/t/714" />
<image url="https://pics.fsfe.org/uploads/medium/5a92ce4766c686c21f06f0fec28618e1.jpg" />
</html>