ISPA Guidelines and Recommendations on Broadband Terminology
Download this page as a PDF.
ISPA Guidelines and Recommendations on Broadband Terminology
The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has identified a need to develop a set of guidelines and recommendations relating to the meaning of broadband terminology. ISPA’s Code of Conduct working group was tasked with developing an initial set of guidelines and recommendations for further discussion, and this document is the result.
The objective of this document is to help to kickstart the process of establishing a shared understanding between ISPs, consumers, IT journalists and advertising authorities in interpreting words like “uncapped”, “shaped” and the like when these are used to advertise or describe broadband services. ISPA strongly believes that this will be to the benefit of both ISPA members and consumers of broadband services.
It should be noted that the Internet market tends to change reasonably rapidly. Some of these guidelines may need revision quite quickly, and other types of services are likely to emerge which do not fall neatly in the categories set out below. ISPA reserves the right to update this document as the need arises and in response to input received.
- This document is not prescriptive and is not intended to be legally binding on ISPA members or to oblige ISPs to market their services in any specific manner.
- Neither is it intended to be used as definitive or regarded as an expert opinion in any legal or quasi-legal proceedings or to limit the ability of ISPs to create new services and categories of services.
- ISPA disclaims responsibility for any loss flowing from reliance on the contents of this document.
- Basic principles
The most important principles for the provision and marketing of broadband services should be transparency and clear communication with current and potential customers.
The nature of the service that is being provided to the customer, any relevant restrictions on that service and the costs for the service should be clearly communicated to customers in any marketing material (where feasible given the advertising medium). Consumers should have sufficient information to make informed decisions about which service will best meet their needs and what that service will cost them.
An ISP’s terms and conditions and/or an acceptable use policy must be readily available to customers and should be kept up-to-date if an ISP launches new products or services.
- Guide to technical terms
This section contains a guide to the common technical terms used in connection with broadband:
A broadband Internet access service is a service which provides access to the Internet with a minimum download speed of 256 kbps.
A service can be broadband regardless of the technology employed to provide the service, for example, DSL, wireless, wifi, cellular or satellite.
Note that the minimum speed referred to is linked to the minimum download speed – which may differ from the minimum upload speed – as services are generally marketed with reference to this download speed.
Because broadband speeds can vary according to a wide variety of factors, speeds are required to be marketed with reference to the maximum possible download speed, e.g. “Up to 4Mbs”.
ISPA notes that the minimum speed chosen here is quite low. It has been chosen to match the definition in the Department of Communication’s published National Broadband Policy which is, in turn, based on the ITU’s definition of broadband for developing markets. The accepted minimum speed of broadband services in many developed markets is much higher, and ISPA looks forward to being able to revise this number upwards in the future, as minimum South African broadband speeds increase.
3.2. Local and international
Local traffic is traffic originating on the network of a South African ISP which is destined for another South African IP network, and which will most likely be carried across interconnection links/Internet exchange points located in South Africa.
International traffic is traffic originating on the network of a South African ISP which is destined for an IP network located outside of the country (or vice versa), and which will most likely be carried across international Internet links.
It must be emphasised that these meanings reflect only how things work under normal circumstances. National traffic may be routed internationally under certain circumstances, for example, as an alternative if a particular carrier service is down.
Largely for historical reasons, South African ISPs have sometimes differentiated between “local” access, which generally means access to other South Africa networks, and “international” access, which generally means access to networks outside of the country. Similarly, “local traffic” generally means Internet Protocol (“IP”) traffic destined for (or coming from) local IP networks, and “international traffic” generally means IP traffic destined for (or coming from) international IP networks.
However, upon closer inspection “local” versus “international” is slightly more complicated than this on a technical level, and depends to some extent on the technical configuration of an ISP’s network, and on that ISP’s connections to other ISPs. To illustrate this, consider the example of an ISP (“ISP X”) which connects to “ISP Y” via the Johannesburg Internet exchange (JINX), but doesn’t have a direct peering agreement with “ISP Z”. Traffic between the networks of ISPs “X” and “Z” may therefore pass over international links before arriving back on the target network. A pertinent question is thus: Would this traffic be considered international or local?
Adding to the local vs. international complexity is the fact that traffic routes are not static, and may change based on network congestion, link failures and network traffic patterns. Hence, on occasion, “local” traffic might transit international links, even though it would typically travel across a local interconnection link.
3.3. Traffic shaping
Traffic shaping is the deliberate limitation or prioritisation of some types of Internet traffic or certain Internet protocols over others.
It should be noted that traffic shaping can be implemented either to provide a customer with a specific type of service (for example, by providing a service which specifically prioritises services used for online gaming or to penalise a customer (for example, by limiting peer-to-peer traffic protocols for users who have exceeded the terms of acceptable use). Traffic shaping is sometimes referred to as “traffic prioritisation”, usually when it is being implemented on the customer’s request.
Traffic shaping is usually aimed at giving priority to web browsing, email services and normal downloading via web browsers and lower priority to bandwidth intense applications such as peer to peer applications. Traffic shaping is used as a means of managing a network, keeping the cost of the service under control and of preventing a small number of customers from placing a disproportionate burden on the network or negatively affecting the overall user experience on the network.
3.4. Contention ratio
The contention ratio of an Internet access service means the total capacity sold to customers versus the total capacity the service provider has provisioned to service those customers.
In general terms “contention ratio” is used as an indication of the total capacity (or bandwidth or traffic) an ISP sells to its customers, versus the total upstream capacity (or bandwidth or traffic) an ISP has available to service those customers. For example, if an ISP sells 100 users a 1 Mbps service (total sold = 100 Mbps) and provisions 5 Mbps to service these customers, then the contention ratio would be 20:1. Note that this doesn’t mean that each user only gets 1/20th of the total 5 Mbps, because not all customers use the service at the same time. ISPs also use caching servers and bandwidth optimisation technologies to optimise shared usage of upstream links.
Different services on an ISP’s network may also have different contention ratios. An ISP might have a 10:1 contention ratio for capped DSL services, but a 30:1 contention ratio for uncapped DSL services. There could be different contention ratios for uploads and downloads. Different parts of an ISP’s network might also have different contention ratios. One contention ratio might measure the total capacity into an upstream provider’s DSL cloud versus the total capacity of DSL services the ISP has sold to those customers, but a different contention ratio might measure the amount of international capacity available to those same customers.
In summary, “contention ratio” can mean a number of different things, depending on the context, and the figure presented can be very difficult to verify. The usefulness of this term for consumers is therefore debatable.
3.5. Family friendly services
A family friendly Internet access service is one where the ISP provides the customer with a filtered access service, or the ability to set-up filters on the content or types of content available to that customer. Such services restrict the customer’s access to content which is deemed undesirable for children, and may offer other filtering options.
ISPA’s Code of Conduct requires that all members make information on protecting children available to their customers. Some ISPs go further than this, offering access services where specific content is filtered or blocked.
ISPs offering “family friendly” services should specify what sort of content filtering or blocking is implemented for customers of that service and should clearly indicate any limitations on the effectiveness of the filters.
Types of broadband service
This document divides broadband services into four categories, as follows:
- Unrestricted, uncapped Internet access: No cap. Acceptable use policy may only restrict illegal activity, not usage behaviour. May be linked to a specific access speed.
- Uncapped Internet access: No cap. Acceptable use policy can place limitations on user behaviour and define “abuse” criteria which can result in service restrictions. May be linked to a specific access speed.
- Soft capped Internet access: Service is provided on a metered basis. After the customer exceeds a “soft cap”, they still have Internet access, but significant restrictions are applied, such as limited international access or vastly reduced access speeds
- Hard capped Internet access: Service is provided on a metered basis (limited traffic volume, or limited amount of time online). After the customer exceeds this cap, no access to the Internet is provided until the customer purchases additional services.
These four types of service are defined in more detail below. Please note that ISPA recognises that other types of services may be offered and that ISPA members are in no manner required to divide up their services in this manner.
ISPA wishes to emphasise that the above characterisation is intended as a guide to understanding broad categories of service and it
- is not a requirement for ISPA members to use these categories
- does not mean that the use of terms set out in this section in marketing material should be interpreted in accordance with this section.
4.1. Unrestricted, uncapped Internet access
Characteristics of an “unrestricted, uncapped” Internet access service are as follows:
- There is no limit place on the total volume of traffic the customers uploads or downloads.
- The service may still be linked to a specific speed (e.g. a 512 kbps unrestricted, uncapped service, or a 4 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload unrestricted, uncapped service).
- The Acceptable Use Policy for unrestricted services may not place any restrictions on the customer’s usage behaviour, but may still place restrictions on illegal or unlawful use of the service (the ISP has no discretion in this regard).
- Traffic-shaping may be implemented on an unrestricted, uncapped service. The general shaping policy to be applied to the service should be clearly disclosed.
4.2. Uncapped Internet access
Characteristics of an “uncapped” Internet access service are as follows:
- There is no limit placed on the total volume of traffic the customers uploads or downloads.
- The service may still be linked to a specific speed (e.g. a 512 kbps, uncapped service, or a 4 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload uncapped service).
- The Acceptable Use Policy for uncapped services may place additional restrictions on the customer’s usage behaviour beyond illegal or unlawful usage. Customers not adhering to the AUP may have their services limited or soft capped. Details of usage restrictions and the consequences of breaching these restrictions must be clearly set-out in the AUP.
- Traffic-shaping may be implemented on an uncapped service. The general shaping policy to be applied to the service should be clearly disclosed.
4.3. Capped Internet access: Soft cap
Characteristics of a soft capped Internet access service are as follows:
- The access service is provided on a metered basis. Usually this means that the customer purchases a limited volume of traffic (typically per month) but it could also mean that the customer has purchased access for a limited amount of time.
- After the customer exceeds this limit — referred to as the “soft cap” — their Internet access service has certain restrictions applied to it. Restrictions might include limited international access/only local access, or vastly reduced speeds. The up-front description of the service provided to the customer should specify what limitations will apply to the service once the soft cap is reached.
- In most cases the “soft cap” resets at the end of the metering period, for example at the end of each calendar month.
- Traffic-shaping may be implemented on a soft-capped service. The general shaping policy to be applied to the service should be clearly disclosed.
4.4. Capped Internet access: Hard cap
Characteristics of an Internet access service which only has a hard cap are as follows:
- The access service is provided on a metered basis. Usually this means that the customer purchases a limited volume of traffic (typically per month) but it could also mean that the customer has purchased access for a limited amount of time.
- After the customer exceeds this limit — referred to as the “hard cap” — their Internet access service is terminated. To regain access, the customer must purchase additional services from the ISP. Note that some providers may allow access to a limited number of sites after the hard cap has been reached.
- Traffic-shaping may be implemented on a capped service. The details of the services and/or protocols which are prioritised or limited must be clearly disclosed up front.
4.5. Mixed services
Some ISPs offer services which are a mixture of the above four. For example, an ISP might provide a service which is “uncapped” during the day but becomes “unrestricted, uncapped” at night. In these cases, ISPs should clearly specify the time period that each type of service applies.
Recommendations for ISPA members
The following general recommendations are made to help ISPA members to promote consistency in the use of broadband terms:
- Ensure that “broadband” is only used in your advertising to refer to services which have a minimum download speed of 256 kbps.
- If you (or your upstream service provider) do any sort of traffic shaping, ensure that this is made clear to potential customers before concluding a service agreement.
- Your acceptable use policy should clearly address:
(a) any restrictions on illegal or unlawful use of the service, and under what circumstances you will take action in the event of allegations of illegal or unlawful use of the service, and
(b) any other restrictions based on the customer’s usage pattern or behaviour, and the consequences of breaching those restrictions.
- For usage-based services, the ability for the customer to monitor their usage should be readily available. Customers should preferably be provided with the option of receiving notifications of their usage at certain points, for example once they reach 75% of their cap.
- For capped services, a customer should not be automatically switched to a more expensive traffic-based charging scheme once they have exceeded their specified cap. Consent should be obtained from the customer before moving them to any other charging scheme.
- Pricing for uncapped services should clearly indicate whether the cost is:
(a) flat rate, i.e. a single price for an “all you can eat” service; or
(b) metered, i.e. the cost of the service is linked to utilisation.
- Information about the contention ratio for the service provided should be made available on your web site.
- If you are providing family friendly services, you should provide information about the filtering or blocking you do, and indicate any limitations on the effectiveness of those filters or blocks.
The following recommendations relate to the categories of services defined in this document:
- Use the term “unrestricted” or “unrestricted, uncapped” Internet access to refer only to a service which has no limit placed on the total volume of traffic uploaded or downloaded by the customer, and which does not place any other restrictions on the customer’s usage behaviour (excepting illegal or unlawful use).
- Use the term “uncapped” Internet access to refer only to a service which has no limit placed on the total volume of traffic uploaded or downloaded by the customer subject to the customer observing specified usage restrictions.
- For services which offer different performance criteria during different times of the day, the time periods that apply in each case must be made clear to the customer.
Commenting on this document
This is a discussion document, and comment from ISPA members (and other interested parties) is actively solicited. Please send any comments you have to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Contributors to this document include: Ant Brooks, Calvin Browne, Dominic Cull, Roelf Diedericks, Marc Furman, Antony Futter, David Gentleman, Lynne Orrock, Bretton Vine, Elaine Zinn, Patrick Holahan, Henk Kleynhans, Jaap Scholten and Wilmari Hannie.
Special thanks to David Gentleman for the first draft of all of the broadband definitions.
Take Down Guide
How to request a Take-Down Notice
Note: you can also request a Take-down.
If you have discovered content on one of ISPA’s member’s network that you believe is unlawful, you are welcome to send a take-down notification to ISPA, requesting that the material concerned be removed. This request must be made in writing and can be hand-delivered, posted, faxed or emailed. (We prefer email.) While you are welcome to phone ISPA with queries, we cannot process take-down requests made telephonically.
||takedown (at) ispa.org.za
|Phone number (queries only)
||010 500 1200 or 087 550 1200
There are a number of specific requirements for a take-down notification set out in the legislation. If your notification does not include all of this information, ISPA will not be able to process it. Your take-down request must include the following:
- Your full name
- Your address
- Your telephone number
- Your email address
(if you have one)
- The name of the service provider against whom you are making the complaint
- A clear and unambiguous identification of the unlawful material or activity
(for example, the URL of web page on which the material appears with optional screenshot)
- A description of the right that you believe has been infringed by the material or activity concerned
(for example, “my right to privacy is being infringed by the publication of my credit card number”)
- The remedial action you wish the service provider to take
(for example, “the credit card number should be removed”)
- A statement that the information in your complaint is, to your knowledge, true and correct and that you are acting in good faith.
- Your signature
(either written or electronic)
Important note: In terms of section 77(2) of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act, any person who lodges a notification of unlawful activity with a service provider knowing that it materially misrepresents the facts is liable for damages for wrongful take-down.
Here is an example of a take-down notification which contains all of the required information:
I have discovered that my personal contact infomation, identification details, and credit card number is publicly listed on a website hosted by an ISPA member. The ISPA member is [Member Name] and the location of my personal information and banking details is [URL, optional screenshot included]. I believe that the content located on this site infringes on my right to privacy, and request that access to the file immediately be blocked.
– Email: email@example.com
The information contained in this take-down request is, to the best of my knowledge, true and correct and I am acting in good faith.
[Digital signature attached]
Note: you can also request a Take-down.
Upon receipt of your take-down request, ISPA will confirm that all of the required information is included. We will also check that the content you are referring to is hosted on that organisation’s network, and that the remedial action you have requested is feasible. If, for some reason, your request fails one of these tests, you will be notified of the reason. If the requests passes these tests, it will be forwarded on to the service provider in question, and you will receive a reply acknowledging receipt of your take-down request. You should get a response from ISPA within three working days. Should you not receieve some form of response to your notification within three working days, please contact complaints (at) ispa.org.za or call ISPA at the phone number listed above.
Once a service provider has responded to the notification, either by removing the content concerned, or by refusing to remove the content for some reason, you will receive a further notification from ISPA. (You may also receive correspondence directly from the service provider concerned.) Should you not receive this further notification within seven days of your original complaint, please contact complaints (at) ispa.org.dot.za or call ISPA at the phone number listed above.
Request a Take-Down Notice
Code of Conduct complaint and disciplinary procedure (v3.2)
This is a procedure for handling complaints that one of ISPA’s members has breached the Code of Conduct.
(Kindly note target times are indicative only and do not constitute a service level commitment. They are measured both against each individual complaint as well as against the average of all complaints received.)
- A complaint is initiated against a member of ISPA. This complaint must be submitted via email or via the ISPA web site and will be processed by a Code of Conduct compliance officer appointed by ISPA.
ISPA has the right to investigate any transgression of or non-compliance with the Code of Conduct by a member, and lodge a complaint against that member using the process outlined below.
- The complaint must contain the following information:
- If the complaint does contain all of these points, proceed to 3.
- If the complaint does not contain all of these points, a form reply is sent back to the complainant requesting that the missing information be provided.
End of procedure.
- The name of the service provider against whom the complaint is being made
- The full names, address and contact details of the complainant
- Identification of the part of the Code of Conduct which has allegedly been breached
- A detailed description of the actions (or inactions) which resulted in the alleged breach
- An indication of whether the complainant has made an effort to resolve the complaint directly with the service provider.
An acknowledgement of receipt of the complaint is sent to the complainant.
A few basic sanity checks are done, to ensure that the complaint is valid:
- If the complaint passes the sanity tests, then proceed to 5.
- If either any of these sanity checks fail, a letter is sent to the complainant explaining the reason the complaint cannot be addressed, or noting that it has already been dealt with.
- Is the service provider a member of ISPA?
- Has an adjudicator or an appeals panel already dealt with an earlier complaint on the same issue?
- Is the complaint about an Internet service?
- A copy of the complaint is forwarded to the service provider.
Target turn-around time for steps 1-5 is 3 working days.
The service provider against whom the complaint has been initiated is given five working days to remedy the complaint. If no response has been provided after five days, an attempt must be made to contact the service provider by telephone to inform them that the complaint remains unresolved. On request, and at the discretion of the Code of Conduct compliance officer, an additional five days may be granted for a response. If, after this time, the complaint has not been resolved to the satisfaction of both parties, the complaint is forwarded to an adjudicator with a request for a review. Once a complaint has been forwarded to an adjudicator, both the complainant and the service provider must be notified.
The adjudicator must consider the merits of the complaint, taking into account:
- The complaint
- Any response the service provider wishes to make to the complaint
- The Code of Conduct
- The associated practical recommendations
- Any previous complaints made by the complainant
- Any previous complaints made against the service provider
If there is evidence that the complainant has lodged a complaint or dispute, or instituted an action with any other regulatory body or in a Court, and where the subject matter of that complaint, dispute or action is substantially the same as the subject matter of the complaint lodged by that complainant with ISPA, the adjudicator may at his discretion hear the complaint, dismiss the complaint, or suspend the complaint until such time as determined by the adjudicator.
The adjudicator may request that either the complainant or the service provider or both provide additional information relevant to the complaint. The adjudicator must specify a time frame for the provision of this information. If either party fails to provide the required information within this time frame, the adjudicator must proceed to evaluate the complaint without the benefit of the additional information.
After considering the merits of the complaint, the adjudicator can make any one or more of the following resolutions:
- The complaint is not valid
- The complaint should be referred back to the service provider with a further opportunity for remedial action (return to step 6.)
- The service provider must undertake appropriate remedial action (including the provision of a refund), as specified
- The service provider should be issued with a reprimand or warning
- The service provider should be fined
- The service provide must take-down content (when the complaint stems from a valid take-down notification)
- The service provider should be suspended from ISPA subject to conditions determined by the adjudicator
- The service provider’s membership of ISPA should be revoked
- ISPA should publish a report containing the identity of the service provider, the details of the breach of the Code of Conduct, and any action taken regarding the breach
- ISPA should report unlawful conduct or content to the relevant law enforcement authority
If the adjudicator requested that the service provider supply additional information (in step 9), and the service provider failed to do so, then the adjudicator may take the service provider’s failure to assist into account when making his decision.
Copies of the adjudicator’s resolutions and the reasons for those resolutions are forwarded to the service provider, the complainant and ISPA’s Management Committee.
Target turn-around time for steps 7-9 is 3 calendar weeks
If either the complainant or the service provider believes that the adjudicator has made an incorrect decision, an appeal can be lodged with ISPA’s Management Committee within ten working days of the distribution of the adjudicator’s resolution to the parties. If no appeal is lodged within ten working days, then the matter will be considered closed.
ISPA’s Management Committee can either reject the appeal, or refer the case to an appeals panel. A copy of the Management Committee’s decision and the reason for the decision is sent to both the service provider and the complainant.
If the complaint is referred to an appeals panel, return to step 7, but with the appeals panel fulfilling the role of the adjudicator for steps 7-11. A complaint can only be appealed once to the Management Committee.
If the Management Committee rejects an appeal, that is the end of this procedure.
ISPA must retain records of all complaints and disciplinary proceedings for a minimum period of three years.
Target turn-around time for the complete process (excluding an appeal, if any) is 5 calendar weeks.
Lodge a Complaint
This Code of Conduct and the related documents were formally adopted by ISPA during its Annual General Meeting on 2002-09-12.
Significant revisions were made by the Code of Conduct working group on 2007-01-31, 2007-12-04, 2008-02-21 and again on 2008-07-13 in order for the Code of Conduct to comply with the guidelines for the recognition of an Industry Representative Body in terms of the ECT Act. This revised Code of Conduct was formally adopted by ISPA on 2008-08-22.
A. Freedom of expression
- ISPA members must respect the constitutional right to freedom of speech and expression.
B. Privacy and confidentiality
- ISPA members must respect the constitutional right of Internet users to personal privacy and privacy of communications.
- ISPA members must respect the confidentiality of customers’ personal information and electronic communications, and must not gather, retain, sell or distribute such information to any other party without the written consent of the customer, except where required to do so by law.
C. Consumer protection and provision of information to customers
- ISPA members must provide the following information on their web sites: their registered name, email address, telephone and fax numbers and physical address.
- ISPA members must inform their customers that members of ISPA must uphold and abide by this Code of Conduct. Members’ web sites must include a reference to ISPA membership, a prominent copy of ISPA’s logo and a link to the section of the ISPA web site that contains the Code of Conduct, complaints and disciplinary procedure and the take-down procedure.
- ISPA members must have an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for their Internet access services. This policy must be made available to customers prior to the commencement of any such service agreement and at any time thereafter, on request.
- In their dealings with consumers, other businesses, each other and ISPA, ISPA members must act fairly, reasonably, professionally and in good faith. In particular, pricing information for services must be clearly and accurately conveyed to customers and potential customers.
- ISPA members may only offer service levels which are reasonably within their technical and practical abilities.
- ISPA members must comply with all compulsory advertising standards and regulations.
D. Standard terms and conditions
- ISPA members must provide access to their standard terms and conditions on their web sites. These terms and conditions must be available to any potential customer prior to the commencement of any contract.
- Standard terms and conditions must contain:
- All information and terms relevant to the relationship with the recipient of the service;
- a requirement that the customer will not knowingly create, store or disseminate any illegal content;
- a commitment to lawful conduct in the use of the services, including copyright and intellectual property rights; and
- an undertaking not to send or promote the sending of spam.
- Standard terms and conditions must give an ISPA member the right to remove any content hosted by that member which it considers illegal or for which it has received a take-down notice.
- Standard terms and conditions must give the ISPA member the right to suspend or terminate the service of any customer that does not comply with the terms and conditions, Acceptable Use Policy or any other contractual obligations.
E. Unsolicited communications (“spam”)
- ISPA members must not send or promote the sending of unsolicited bulk email and must take reasonable measures to ensure that their networks are not used by others for this purpose. ISPA members must also comply with the provisions of section 45(1) of the ECT Act, and must not send or promote the sending of unsolicited commercial communications that do not comply with the provisions of section 45(1) of the ECT Act.
- ISPA members must provide a facility for dealing with complaints regarding unsolicited bulk email and unsolicited commercial communications that do not comply with the provisions of section 45(1) of the ECT Act originating from their networks and must react expeditiously to complaints received.
F. Cyber crime
- 16. ISPA members must take all reasonable measures to prevent unauthorised access to, interception of, or interference with any data on that members network and under its control.
G. Protection of minors
- ISPA members must take reasonable steps to ensure that they do not offer paid content subscription services to minors without written permission from a parent or guardian.
- ISPA members must provide Internet access customers with information about procedures and software applications which can be used to assist in the control and monitoring of minors’ access to Internet content. This requirement does not apply to corporate customers where no minors have Internet access.
H. Lawful conduct
- ISPA members must conduct themselves lawfully at all times and must co-operate with law enforcement authorities where there is a legal obligation to do so.
- ISPA members must respect intellectual property rights and not knowingly infringe such rights.
- ISPA members must uphold and abide by this Code of Conduct and adhere to the associated complaints and disciplinary procedures.
I. Unlawful content and activity
- There is no general obligation on any ISPA member to monitor services provided to customers, but a member is obliged to take appropriate action where it becomes aware of any unlawful content or conduct.
- ISPA members must not knowingly host or provide links to unlawful content, except when required to do so by law.
- If an ISPA member becomes aware of conduct or content which has been determined to be illegal, it must suspend or terminate the relevant customer’s service and report the conduct or content to the relevant law enforcement authority. The ISPA member must report such cases and any action taken to ISPA within a reasonable period of time.
- ISPA members must establish a notification and take-down procedure for unlawful content and activity in accordance with ISPA’s take-down notification procedure, and respond expeditiously to such notifications.
- ISPA members must submit a report to ISPA on the steps taken in response to a take-down notice within a reasonable period of time after such a notice is lodged.
- ISPA members must keep a record of all take-down notices received and any materials taken down for a period of at least three years unless possession of such materials is illegal.
J. Internet standards
- ISPA members must operate with due regard for established Internet best practices, as set out in the various request for comment (RFC) documents and as mandated from time to time by established and respected Internet governance structures.
K. Compliance with the Code of Conduct
- ISPA members must receive and investigate complaints made in accordance with this Code of Conduct, unless such complaints are frivolous, unreasonable, vexatious or in bad faith.
- ISPA members must make all reasonable efforts to resolve complaints in accordance with the complaints procedure.
- ISPA members must co-operate with ISPA in accordance with the complaints and disciplinary procedures and comply with any decisions taken by ISPA with respect to the Code of Conduct and complaint and disciplinary procedure.
- ISPA members must submit an annual statement to ISPA confirming their compliance with the Code of Conduct.
- ISPA must audit the compliance of ISPA’s members with the Code of Conduct annually and must perform regular spot checks in this regard.
- ISPA may investigate the conduct and compliance with the Code of Conduct by members on its own initiative and may, if appropriate, institute disciplinary proceedings as set out in the Code of Conduct complaint and disciplinary procedure.
- ISPA reserves the right to make alterations to this Code of Conduct from time to time. Such amendments are binding on all ISPA members. The current Code of Conduct will be maintained on the ISPA’s web site.
We are a proud member of ISPA and uphold the ISPA Code of Conduct