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Italian regulator introduces traffic light system for broadband advertising after initial experimentation phase

AGCOM has made it mandatory for ISPs to adopt the traffic light system it devised.

Background: In February 2018, AGCOM consulted on how to improve transparency related to the advertising of broadband, looking for ways to clearly distinguish full-fibre connections from mixed technology ones i.e. FTTC, FWA or copper. In July 2018, the regulator introduced a system of labels: a green label for full-fibre; a yellow one for the mixed technology ones; and a red label for connections using only copper. This came to be known as the traffic light system, and was introduced subject to a period of experimentation.

What’s new? AGCOM has now ended the test period. It released a report of its monitoring of the main ISPs in the country, in which it declares itself satisfied of the test and makes some recommendations to ISPs to improve their advertising practices. As a result, the traffic light system will now have to be adopted by ISPs in all forms of advertising to the public.

Why it matters: ISPs in several countries have been arguing over ways to advertise broadband connections. In Italy, wholesale-only operator Open Fiber has been a strong advocate of rules to better distinguish full-fibre from other technology approaches. Similar rules are in place in France, whereas CityFibre in the UK is seeking judicial review of a decision of the Advertising Standard Authority, which allows ISPs to advertise FTTC as ‘fibre based’ connections.