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Posts Tagged ‘net neutrality’

Net Neutrality is discussed in the EU: Communication, Speech, Press release

Mind how the consultation gets analysed:

There was broad consensus that operators and ISPs should be allowed to determine their own business models and commercial arrangements, subject to all applicable laws. Some respondents called on National Regulatory Authorities and operators to work together to ensure that transparency to consumers as regards traffic management practices was meaningful and effective.

As stakeholders are no constituency but just represent a diversity of views “consensus” is politically irrelevant. You cannot expect affected market players to embrace rules and principles while responses along the position to “determine [your] own business models and commercial arrangements” are expected public affairs narratives in any regulatory context. Moreover, the Commission argues the consultation was incomplete/inprecise, thus wants to dig deeper into the technical issues:

Moreover, as stated above the data obtained from the public consultation was incomplete or imprecise in many aspects that are essential to understand the current state of play in the European Union. For this reason, the Commission, with BEREC, is currently looking into a number of issues that surfaced in the course of the consultation process, in particular, barriers to switching (for example, after how long, on average, a customer is permitted to break a postpaid contract, and what if any are the penalties), practices of blocking, throttling and commercial practices with equivalent effect, transparency and quality of service as well as the competition issues relating to net neutrality (e.g. discriminatory practices by a dominant player).

As a result of the investigation the Commission announces:

On the basis of the evidence and the implementation of the telecom framework provisions, the Commission will decide, as a matter of priority, on the issue of additional guidance on net neutrality.

If significant and persistent problems are substantiated, and the system as a whole – comprising multiple operators – is not ensuring that consumers are easily able to access and distribute content, services and applications of their choice via a single internet subscription, the Commission will assess the need for more stringent measures to achieve competition and the choice consumers deserve.

Vocal advocates of net neutrality like the French advocacy group Quadrature are embarrassed by the report: “The European Commission Gives Up on Users and Innovators.” However, given the general opposition of telecom providers to net neutrality regulation, the Commissioner Kroes clearly shows that they consider “additional guidance” and “more stringent measures”. For telecommunication providers it is an invitation to enter a more technical debate about traffic management where they have to make concessions.

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A Spanish colleague sent me this “net neutrality” definition from a Spanish law:

Citizens have the right to not suffer in their digital sent or received data any kind of manipulation, distortion, prevention, diversion, priorization or delay. The exercise of this right must be independent from the source or target of the communication, from the protocol or application used, from the type of data content, or from any other consideration external to the wish of the citizen. This data traffic will be treated as a private communication and it will only be possible to spy, trace or analyse its content under a judicial order (exactly like in the case of any other current private mail).

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In the European Parliament Internet Freedom recommendations we discussed here earlier:

whereas it is important to deal with emerging issues such as network neutrality, interoperability, global reachability of all Internet nodes, and the use of open formats and standards,”

Openness and interoperability are classics, net neutrality is what Obama cares about and global reachability is a new meme. It bears the potential to assemble an unhealthy alliance between European Human rights groups criticising the Chinese Grand Firewall and Chinese spammers who are cut off by European operators.

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