Net neutrality in Slovenia SL

Since the beginning of 2013 a new law governing electronic communications is in effect in Slovenia. The most important thing is that it explicitly requires net neutrality. This makes Slovenia one of rare legislations where network neutrality is protected by law. This was a very progressive move by Slovenian government which shows that also small countries can do a big step.

There is currently no official translation into English, so we translated the relevant articles into English. We hope that by that we facilitate similar laws in other countries as well.

If you have any suggestions of improvements to the translation, please leave a comment bellow. We would be glad to hear positive or negative criticism of the law as well. And possible your stories and views on the subject.

Definitions

  1. Net neutrality is a principle that every Internet traffic on a public communication network is dealt with equally, independent of content, applications, services, devices, source and destination of the communication.

Article 203

(Net neutrality)

  1. The Agency shall promote the conservation of the open and neutral character of the Internet and the access to and dissemination of information or the use of applications and services by end users' own choice.
  2. The Agency must especially consider the objectives set out in the preceding paragraph when exercising its powers under 3rd and 4th points of the second paragraph of article 132 of this act, and the third and fourth paragraphs of article 133 of this act and at their responsibilities in relation to the execution of the 2nd point of the first paragraph of article 129 by the network operator and provider of Internet access services.
  3. Network operators and providers of Internet access services use their best endeavors to preserve the open and neutral character of the Internet, by being forbidden to restrict, delay or slow the Internet traffic at the level of individual services or applications, or to implement measures for their devaluation, except in the case of:
    1. urgent technical measures to ensure the undisturbed operation of networks and services (eg., to avoid traffic congestion),
    2. urgent measures to preserve the integrity and security of networks and services (eg., elimination of unjustified seizure of a transmission medium - channel),
    3. urgent measures for limiting unsolicited communications in accordance with article 158 of this act,
    4. decision of the court.
  4. The measures provided for in points 1, 2 and 3 of the preceding paragraph must be proportionate, non-discriminatory, limited in time and in the scope which is strictly necessary.
  5. Services of network operators and providers of Internet access services must not be based on the services or applications that are provided or are used over Internet access services.
  6. The Agency can for the execution of the provisions of the third, fourth and fifth paragraphs of this article issue a general act.

Article 132

(Clarity and publication of information)

  1. The Agency encourages operators to publish clear, comparable, adequate and up-to-date information on actual prices and tariffs of all payments related to the termination of the contract and the general conditions for access to publicly available electronic communication services and use of these services for end users and consumers. Such information must be placed in a clear, comprehensive and easily accessible form. To this end, the Agency can issue recommendations, including additional requirements regarding the form in which such information must be disclosed. The Agency can, where appropriate, encourage operators into self-regulatory or co-regulatory measures, such as a making voluntary codes of conduct.
  2. If the Agency finds that pursuant to the preceding paragraph relevant and quality information is not available, it can by the general act require operators to, among other things:
    1. provide to subscribers information on actual tariffs regarding any number or service subject to the special price conditions, whereby the Agency can for the individual categories of services require such information to be communicated immediately prior to connecting the call,
    2. inform subscribers of all changes to the provisions of access to emergency services or to information of caller location for services to which they are subscribed,
    3. inform subscribers of all changes to conditions limiting access to services and applications, or their use, and are not allowed in the legal order of the Republic of Slovenia in accordance with EU regulations,
    4. provide information on any procedures established by the operator to measure and shape traffic so as to avoid congesting or overcongesting a network link, as well as potential impacts of these processes on the quality of services,
    5. inform subscribers of their right of inclusion of their personal data in the telephone directory and on the types of personal data, in accordance with article 137 of this act,
    6. regularly inform subscribers who are disabled, in for them adapted technologies, about the details of products and services intended for them.
  3. The Agency promptly publishes on the world wide web actual links to the operators' websites that serve the monitoring and comparison of information on services, prices and general conditions of the operators. If applications that provide comparable information are not available on the market for free or at a reasonable price, the Agency can provide them on its own.

Article 133

(Quality of public communications services)

  1. The Agency can after the consultation with interested parties require from operators to publish comparable, adequate and up-to-date information about quality of their services in measures to ensure equal access for end users who are disabled. Operator must on a request communicate this information to the Agency before publication.
  2. The Agency can with a general act in more detail regulate questions which emerge while executing this article, especially it can specify quality parameters of services which have to be measured, content, form and manner of publishing of this information, including with possible measures for confirming quality, so that end users, including end users who are disabled, are ensured access to comprehensive, comparable, reliable and user friendly information.
  3. The Agency can with a decreet require from operators of public communications networks minimal requirements of quality of services, to prevent deterioration of services, including hindering or slowdown of traffic over their networks.
  4. Before issuing the decreet from the previous paragraph, the Agency must send to European commission and BEREC a summary of reasons for this action, predicted requirements and proposed course of action. If European commission after examination of this information prepares comments or recommendations, the Agency considers them in the largest scope.
  5. The Agency can issue a recommendation about the way to determine compensations which operators return to their end users at disruption or lower quality of service of public communication services.

Article 129

(Subscription contracts)

  1. Subscription contract must in a clear, comprehensive and easily accessible form include at least:
    1. name and address or name and registered seat of an operator
    2. list of services, in particular:
      • information whether it is providing access to emergency services and caller location information as well as any restrictions on the provisions of emergency services of article 134 of this act,
      • information on any other conditions limiting access to services and applications, or their use, and are allowed under other provisions
      • information on the minimum service quality levels offered, including the time for the initial connection and, where appropriate, depending on the circumstances, information on other service quality parameters, as specified by a general act of article 133 of this act,
      • information on any procedures established by the provider to measure and shape traffic so as to avoidcongesting or overcongesting a network link, and information about potential impacts of these processes on the quality of services,
      • the types of maintenance services offered and customer support services provided and ways of contacting these services,
      • any operator's restrictions on the use of provided terminal equipment,
    3. (...)
  2. (...)

Article 158

(Unsolicited communications)

  1. The use of automated calling and communication systems to make calls to the subscriber's telephone number without human intervention (eg. automatic calling, SMS, MMS), telefax or electronic mail for the purposes of direct marketing is allowed only with the customer's or user's prior consent.
  2. Notwithstanding the provisions of the preceding paragraph a natural or legal person, who from a customer of its products or services obtains his or her electronic mail address, can use this address for direct marketing of its similar products or services provided that it clearly and explicitly provides to the customer the possibility of free and easy refuse of such use of the electronic address when the contact data is obtained, and at each message in the case the customer has not refused such use since the beginning.
  3. The use of other means for direct marketing by means of electronic communications (eg. voice telephony calls), as set out in the two preceding paragraphs shall be permitted only with the consent of the subscriber or user. Refusal of consent must be free for the subscriber or user.
  4. The first and third paragraphs of this article shall apply to subscribers who are natural persons.
  5. It is prohibited to send electronic mail for direct marketing purposes in violation of the law governing electronic commerce on the market, so as to disguise or conceal the identity of the sender on whose behalf the communication is made, and without a valid address to which the recipient may sends a request to stop sending such messages. It is also prohibited to send e-mail for direct marketing purposes, which encourage recipients to visit websites that are contrary to the aforementioned act.
  6. When commercial communications are sent by electronic mail in contravention of the provisions of this article, and it is furthermore also an unsolicited electronic mail in accordance with the consumer protection law, the provisions of this act are used. The provisions of this act shall also apply when sending commercial communications by electronic mail in contravention of the provisions of this article, and it is furthermore also an unsolicited electronic mail in accordance with the law governing electronic commerce on the market.
  7. Notwithstanding any control procedure due to violation of the provisions of this article, any natural or legal person injured by breach, including the service provider protecting its business interests and interests of its customers, has a legal interest to bring a civil action or a temporary injunction against the offender of provisions of this article.

Article 197

(Support of citizens' interests)

The Agency supports the interests of citizens among other ways in particular by:

  1. ensuring that all citizens have access to a universal service,
  2. ensuring a high level of protection for consumers in their dealings with suppliers, in particular by ensuring the availability of simple and not too expensive dispute resolution procedures through the institution that is independent of all parties involved,
  3. contributing to ensure a high level of protection of personal data and privacy,
  4. promoting the provision of clear information, in particular by requiring transparency of tariffs and conditions for the use of communication services,
  5. addressing the needs of specific social groups, in particular disabled users, elderly users and users with special social needs,
  6. caring to maintain the integrity of public communications networks and security of these networks and public communications services,
  7. promoting the access to and dissemination of information or the use of applications and services by end users' own choice,
  8. promoting the conservation of the open and neutral character of the Internet.

Article 198

(Regulatory principles)

The Agency in achieving the objectives of articles 194 up to 197 of this act uses objective, clear, non-discriminatory and proportionate regulatory principles by, inter alia:

  1. promoting regulatory predictability by implementing a consistent regulatory approach over appropriate review periods,
  2. ensuring that, in similar circumstances, there is no discrimination in the treatment of natural and legal persons who provide electronic communications networks and services,
  3. safeguarding competition to the benefit of users, including the promotion of conservation of the open and neutral character of the Internet and, if appropriate, by promoting competition in the field of infrastructure,
  4. promoting efficient investment and innovation in the field of new and enhanced infrastructures, including by ensuring that any access obligations takes appropriate account of the risk taken by the company to invest, and by permitting various cooperative arrangements between investors and parties seeking access to diversify investment risks and at the same time ensure to maintain competitiveness in the market and the principle of non-discrimination,
  5. taking due account of the different conditions relating to competition and consumers that exist in different geographical areas of the country,
  6. imposing ex-ante regulatory obligations only where there is no effective and sustainable competition and relaxing and eliminate these obligations as soon as that condition is meet.