Charter of Good Practices and Common Commitments

PDF version

The present Charter is not intended to be binding or imprescriptible, but to set out some strong positions of principle which seem obvious to define, in the eyes of the founders of the FDN Federation, what an associative Internet Service Provider is. It should be seen as a statement of certain obvious facts, which do not need to be expressed in a statutory manner, but which must nevertheless be seen in the daily practice of all ISP members.

I - Internal functioning

The following rules define the framework within which a Provider must operate in order to be a member of the NDF Federation, they are intended to ensure a democratic mode of operation and to ensure that Providers are operated on behalf of their subscribers and members.

  1. All members of the provider must have the right to vote in the General Assembly or in the corresponding body.
  2. The provider's leaders must be elected.
  3. The elected principal leader, or the elected college of leaders, must have their term of office voted on at least every three years, ideally every year.
  4. All subscribers to Internet access provided by the provider must be members of the provider and must have the corresponding rights, including the right to vote, within reasonable time and procedure.
  5. The provider must have in its aims, either statutory or observed in practice, the defence and/or promotion of the Internet (within the meaning of Title II of this Charter).
  6. The provider must carry on an activity, not marginal, as an Internet Service Provider.   
  7. Individuals must be able to become a member of the provider.
  8. Statutory leaders are volunteers.
  9. Profits made by the provider are systematically kept in cash or invested, but never redistributed.
  10. The provider refrains from using commercial methods, such as buying advertising space.

II - Definition of the Internet

The following provides a definition of what the members of the Federation consider to be the Internet, providing a common understanding of the goals of the Federation.

  1. The Internet is a public network, the result of the interconnection according to open protocols of networks operated by different actors. A simple digital service network is not the Internet.
  2. The Internet is the public network routed by the IP protocol, according to norms and standards, addressed by addresses publicly assigned by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority, the 5 Regional Internet Registry and the Local Internet Registry. Access to a network achieved by the provision of a non-publicly assigned address is not access to the Internet, but to a digital network of services.
  3. The Internet grows each time an access is active, bringing one or more potential servers online, and shrinks when that access is switched off. A digital network, even if routed through publicly assigned addresses, which technically prevents this essential feature, is not the Internet.

III - Obligations of providers

Provider members shall comply with the following obligations to their members and to each other.

  1. The provision of at least one public routable IP address to each of their subscribers.
  2. The subscriber must have the possibility that this IP address may be fixed, unless there are major technical constraints, in particular those relating to the interconnection mode. This possibility must not be linked to an additional cost, or at worst, the subscriber must be offered the option of being re-invoiced for actual costs incurred.
  3. The provider undertakes to provide a domain or sub-domain to subscribers who request it, at no extra cost or, at worst, a chargeback of actual observed costs. These domains must be declared and managed on a hierarchy of publicly accessible DNS servers.
  4. The provider shall refrain from interfering in any way with the data carried for the subscribers without the consent of the subscriber concerned. In particular, the provider shall not modify the contents of the messages exchanged, except for those modifications that are strictly necessary for the proper functioning of the Internet (no modifications apart from the protocol headers necessary for routing).
  5. The provider shall refrain from judging the relevance or importance of a data flow on behalf of its members and subscribers. The provider shall therefore not prioritize traffic between subscribers without their explicit consent and full control.
  6. The provider shall refrain from filtering the Internet accesses of its subscribers, unless it is strictly required by law. These legal obligations, and the technical means implemented to meet them, are clearly indicated to all members, and therefore all subscribers, of the provider.
  7. If the provider provides online services other than strict access to the Internet, the provider shall not provide services with an altered version of the network without the explicit agreement of each subscriber concerned and without making available, at no additional cost other than the re-invoicing of actual observed costs, the same unaltered service (examples of altered services: the placement of advertising content on pages published by members, or the placement of advertising content in the DNS made available to members).
  8. The provider must be declared as an operator to the competent regulatory authority, e.g. the Autorité de Régulation des Communications Électroniques et des Postes for France.
  9. The provider undertakes, as far as it can, to assist those of its members who wish to use the Internet access provided by the association to host their own data and services to do so. If, due to a lack of volunteer resources, it cannot meet the demands of its subscribers, it undertakes to inform them of the possibility of contacting other members of the FDN Federation.
  10. The provider undertakes a duty of solidarity, including technical assistance, with other members of the Federation, as well as towards their members.