One of Britain’s biggest mobile phone operators has been criticised by Ofcom for compressing the quality of pictures and videos on its data network for millions of customers, downgrading their quality and breaking net neutrality rules.
The telecoms and broadcasting regulator forced O2, which has 25 million UK users, to make changes to its service that managed its network traffic and affected the quality of videos that users streamed or downloaded.
While O2 has since said it is putting in changes to its network, Ofcom said on Tuesday it had ruled that O2’s responses to its investigation were not sufficiently accurate. O2 will now have a chance to respond before a final decision by the regulator.
Ofcom began its inquiries into networks compressing footage in February last year and opened a formal investigation into O2 in October.
“We have decided that there are reasonable grounds for believing that O2 contravened the requirements imposed in the request by failing to provide accurate and complete answers,” Ofcom said.
The regulator dropped similar net neutrality investigations of Vodafone and Three after an initial assessment.
The ruling comes as part of the European Union’s net neutrality rules, which are applied by Ofcom. These require all internet providers to treat traffic equally.