“Router Freedom” has arrived in Greece – that is what it means

Greece is the seventh EU country to introduce a principle called “router freedom”. This means that consumers of any Internet Service Provider (ISP) can now use a modem or router of their choice instead of the ISP-provided devices.

The freedom of choice for routers and modems is regulated in the EU by two primary sets of rules. The first comes from the 2015 Net Neutrality Act, which enshrines people’s right to choose their own digital gear. The second is a set of guidelines for identifying the Network Termination Point (NTP) in various network topologies provided by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC).

These must be implemented by national and regulatory authorities (NRAs) of member states through appropriate legislation – a process prone to delays, political, external interference and regulatory bottlenecks.

In Greece it is national telecommunications regulator already started implementing the necessary legal reforms in 2020. Finally, this month, the regulator passed new rules for router freedom in the country.

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The new regulations mark a pivotal moment for Greece, giving end-users the right to use the terminal of their choice and separating routers from ISPs’ Optical Network Equipment (ONT). However, the exception is fiber optic connections (FTTH), which are still in the domain of the ISPs.

The latter has raised concerns about consumer, security and privacy protections, as well as the digital sustainability of the telecoms sector – especially as other EU countries such as Finland and the Netherlands have set higher standards by allowing consumers to plug the fiber optic router directly into the public network.

Nonetheless, Router Freedom represents an important step that all EU countries need to take to ensure consumers’ digital sovereignty. Forcing consumers to use an ISP-provided device not only compromises their security and privacy, but also creates a monopolized market.

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