Announced in its report on the State of the Internet in France, published in June 2018, and being made public today: a Code of conduct on internet quality of service, and the development of an "access ID card" for stakeholders involved in testing and measuring QoS. The goal: to ensure that the information provided to users reflects their quality of experience in an increasingly accurate fashion, to capitalise on collective intelligence and crowdsourced testing, and to guarantee the reliability of the methodologies used. New instruments to add to Arcep's data-driven approach to regulation.
The Code of conduct on internet quality of service, version 2018: a minimum level of transparency and robustness for testing protocols, and in how the findings are presented
The co-construction of the Code of conduct initiated by Arcep involved some 20 players, including crowdsourcing measurement tools, operators and academics. Today, Arcep is publishing the fruit of a series of working groups: a Code of conduct for stakeholders involved in measuring internet quality of service, both fixed and mobile.
This reference document lists the best practices that encourage stakeholders to:
- Increase transparency over the methodological choices they make, so that any third party can analyse their results;
- Abandon their more questionable practices, for both their test protocols and in how they publish their results.
Arcep invites all the stakeholders who are interested in doing so to adhere to the 2018 Code of conduct as of today. In the 2019 edition of its report on the State of the Internet in France, it will provide a list of the parties involved in testing and measuring QoS who declared their compliance with the Code.
This co-construction approach to regulation will continue on through the coming year, to produce the 2019 version of the Code whose requirements will be further streamlined and strengthened, to keep pace with the ecosystem as its gains experience and expertise.
Development of an "access ID card": kicking off in early 2019
The process of measuring quality of service is especially complex on fixed networks: as it stands, it is technically impossible for an online tool to determine with absolute certainty the access technology (copper, cable, fibre, etc.) on which the test is being performed. This missing detail makes it difficult to utilise the resulting test data and, in some cases, can even mislead consumers.
In early 2018, Arcep began a wide-reaching initiative involving every stakeholder, to resolve this major issue. The ecosystem ultimately reached a consensus on an Application Programming Interface (API) that would be implemented directly in operators' boxes, and accessible to those testing tools that adhere to the Code of conduct. This interface will make it possible to transmit the information contained on the "access ID card" such as the access technology used, but also the consumer's headline speed, the quality of their Wi-Fi network, etc. - while also ensuring their privacy is protected. The contributions from the various parties made it possible to draft detailed specifications for this API's operation.
In January, Arcep will form a monitoring committee with stakeholders to track the API's development, and will publish these specifications together.