Monday, 30 December 2013 - 11:17
Trains May Block YouTube, Spotify
Passengers riding the NS trains may be blocked from accessing streaming media services like YouTube and Spotify when using the free Wi-Fi onboard, an independent market regulator said on Monday. The Netherlands Consumer and Market Authority (ACM) said their investigation focused on the legality of restricting traffic on the open network. Last year, the Netherlands became the first country to pass a net neutrality law, which came into effect in 2013. The law states that companies providing internet access must provide equal access to all online services. T-Mobile is tasked with delivering wireless internet on NS trains. A Dutch NS train waiting at the track (TahR78/Wikipedia) The ACM claims that an exception in the law allows providers the ability to block "traffic jams" on their network. "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 press release. "By blocking these 'data-hungry' services, you can make it so as many travelers as possible make use of the internet." The agreement between the NS and T-Mobile was extended into 2014, with the NS reportedly seeking a long-term deal for the free service. When the NS announced the contract extension in April 2013, the train operator pointed out how useful the service had become to passengers. "In February, for example, there were over 1.8 million internet sessions with an average duration of 43 minutes," they said. Over 20 terabytes of data was handled that month alone.