Comments for Can Obama’s initiative ensure that ‘internet fast lanes’ do not develop to the detriment of standard access? Ariane Martens 10 March 2015 The article tackles the problem of net neutrality after Obama urged the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to review its classification of “broadband networks as utility”. Therefore, the argument is split in three. Firstly, I will point out the latest developments in the area of ‘net neutrality’ in the US. Secondly, I will confront some diverging opinions on the topic. Finally,…Read moreThe article tackles the problem of net neutrality after Obama urged the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) to review its classification of “broadband networks as utility”. Therefore, the argument is split in three. Firstly, I will point out the latest developments in the area of ‘net neutrality’ in the US. Secondly, I will confront some diverging opinions on the topic. Finally, I will explain in a few words the consequences of regulations on net neutrality in Europe. The FCC just approved the 26th February the new rules concerning the “net neutrality”, nearly two year after President Obama’s request to reclassify broadband networks as utility. In this way, the FCC wants to discourage ISPs’ anti-competitive behaviour by forbidding network owners as Comcast or Time Warner Cable to block or restrict Internet traffic and concluding favourable contracts with rich tech companies. Net neutrality implies that Internet should be viewed as a public good and providing equal opportunity. Let’s now consider the different opinion about the last decisions concerning this sensitive topic. President Obama sees the FCC’s decision as a victory and even commented the approval via Twitter: : “Today’s FCC decision will protect innovation and create a level playing field for the next generation of entrepreneurs.” Nevertheless, most people considerer the battle for net neutrality far from over. First, the telecom companies will fight the FCC’s decision in court and depending on the next president’s party, the new rules will be applied. Secondly, one might wonder about FCC agency’s practical action plan to ensure net neutrality in the long run. The examples in the past in China and Iran have shown that a state ruled Internet generates many problems as the creation of an underground network. Finally, network owners still need to manage the data flows and some policymakers tend to think that this market is already enough regulated to prevent anti-competitive behaviour and worry more about negative spill overs on the expansion of the Internet. Finally, the recent concerns about net neutrality compelled the European Commission to propose a Regulation in 2013 and only some Member States adopted laws concerning net neutrality, as the Netherlands. Nevertheless, even there laws still need to be reviewed, as KPN and Vodafone were fined by the Dutch ACM, they consider that the guidelines should be more clarified. To conclude, the sensitive issue of net neutrality will continue to expand and authorities will be compelled to find solutions tailored to the needs of the people. Sources http://www.gsara.tv/neutralite/?p=67 http://www.lemonde.fr/pixels/article/2015/02/26/etape-decisive-pour-la-neutralite-du-net-aux-etats-unis_4583490_4408996.html#EURSVqbEiu2V46zS.99 https://mspbwatcharchive.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/access-to-broadband-networks-the-net-neutrality-debate-july-22-2013.pdf http://money.cnn.com/2015/02/26/technology/fcc-rules-net-neutrality/ Show less Reply de Crombrugghe Laetitia 10 March 2015 The principle of net neutrality is that all content on the internet should be treated equally in the sense that all applications or content should have the same access. Internet providers should not be able to favour or block content. The issue is that some internet-service provider (ISP) used to charge extra fee to companies for providing them “fast lanes”, which…Read moreThe principle of net neutrality is that all content on the internet should be treated equally in the sense that all applications or content should have the same access. Internet providers should not be able to favour or block content. The issue is that some internet-service provider (ISP) used to charge extra fee to companies for providing them “fast lanes”, which can discriminate small enterprises or start-ups. Until now, there were not many regulations about the system. In 2014, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) proposed to give the ISP the freedom to charge effectively higher fees. But president Obama urged them to react in order to protect the net neutrality. For the president, paid prioritization on the broadband cannot last anymore. His call seems to have been heard, because the FCC proposed strict new rules on ISP under Title II which aim is to protect the net neutrality. Concretely, it would help preventing the broadband providers of refusing content because of a monetary reason. The new rules will have as aim to outlaw “paid prioritization”. The FCC hopes also to have impact on “throttling” which is the impairing or degrading of the internet traffic in some cases. Those rules will expand the power of the FCC. Not everyone seems to be happy with those new rules. Concerning the decisions of the EU, the MEPs choose to take it differently comparing to the USA. They voted a mean regulation about the ISP in order to have a regulation. In fact, they still allow the difference in treatment of content. But the policy of Europe is not as clear as the one of the USA because of the fact that the members all have voted different rules. Of course, activists like Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight for the Future, consider this decision as a real success even if she understands quite well that the war isn’t won. For many, net neutrality is part of freedom of expression. Economists see it differently. For many, this regulation will prevent the companies of doing at price discrimination. This means in fact that the government tries to regulate price. In their opinion, those regulations are barriers for investment in broadband infrastructure and anticompetitive rules. Moreover, some claim that ISP practices can be seen as an attempt to fight network congestion. One of the big drawbacks of the regulations is the possibility to face higher costs. Net neutrality could raise operational expense (“overhead required to deploy, manage and maintain networks”) because of the fact that the infrastructure need to upgraded can lead to an increase in the overhead. This raise in cost for the companies can be feed backed on the customer. Net neutrality seems also to have a drawback on innovation. It seems that more rules are a barrier to creation and innovation. A study mentioned that the more there are restriction and rules about a subject, the less innovation is boosted. At the end, net neutrality can be beneficial for the consumer because ISP isn’t choosing anymore for them what they can get. This means a bigger range of information possibilities for the users. References: http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21632020 http://jcle.oxfordjournals.org/content/3/3/399.short http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26865869 http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26682298 http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/22/net-neutrality-latest-controversy-q-and-a http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/26/net-neutrality-activists-landmark-victory-fcc http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/02/net-neutrality-activists-fcc-big-cable-republicans http://www.businessinsider.com/net-neutralityfor-dummies-and-how-it-effects-you-2014-1?IR=T https://server1.tepper.cmu.edu/ecommerce/economics%20of%20net%20neutrality.pdf Show less Reply Zhang Beili 10 March 2015 Thursday 26th February 2014, 3 months after Barack Obama statement on ‘’keeping the internet open and free’’ (1), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took a step further in favor of the net neutrality by voting and passing new rules which goal are to ensure that ISP’s treat all legal content equally despite heavy lobbying (on both sides: in favor or…Read moreThursday 26th February 2014, 3 months after Barack Obama statement on ‘’keeping the internet open and free’’ (1), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) took a step further in favor of the net neutrality by voting and passing new rules which goal are to ensure that ISP’s treat all legal content equally despite heavy lobbying (on both sides: in favor or against the rules). (2) However, while the net neutrality rules passed in the US, the situation in Europe is heading in a different direction. Indeed, despite the fact that a decision has been taken less than one year ago in order to ensure the net neutrality in Europe by heavily restricting specialized services (3), a recent proposal has been put forward and is favoring measures that will threaten the idea of Internet as a common good: corporations will be able to get faster internet services, providing that they pay an higher price to the telecom firms. (4) (5) The economists against net neutrality say that network operators are merely aiming for a better management in order to avoid congestion and the end effect will be better for everyone. They cite as an example Netflix, which is for now essentially ‘’free-riding’’, despite the fact that it takes a really large part of the traffic. It is thus logical, in their opinion, that they pay a larger fee for it. (6) The telecom companies also need to recoup their loss with the roaming charges which are dropping in Europe, the ’’free services’’ offered by facebook or google which would permit the user to access to their website without the need of data service (7). So this would be a new way for them to charge data. In the contrary, with a higher net neutrality, telecom companies would have to find another means of charging and thus, they may be rising the bills for every end-user. In the other hands, activists for internet freedom have a different take on the issue, in their opinion, the internet should be free and for everyone. Internet access should be equal for everyone. It should not be the case where the law of the stronger, the one who will pay more will reign in detriment to the others. It will diminish competition because the big companies will have an unfair advantage against the others. Finally, it will also stifle innovation because investment will only be made on the most on profitable fast lane. (8) In conclusion, the opinions are divided on this issue but seeing the seemingly opposite approach in the US and in Europe regarding the problem, we can observe that there is no easy answer. (1) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKcjQPVwfDk (2) http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2015/02/26/fcc-approves-net-neutrality-rules/24053057/ (3) http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26865869 (4) http://www.commdiginews.com/featured/europe-endangers-net-neutrality-37646/ (5) http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/03/europe-reverses-course-on-net-neutrality-legislation/ (6) http://www.economist.com/news/business/21641257-rules-road-internet-will-always-be-work-progress-be-continued (7) http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/google-free-zone-placeholder/ (8) http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/feb/26/net-neutrality-activists-landmark-victory-fcc Show less Reply Ana Martínez Alcaraz 10 March 2015 (i) What are the differences between the US and Europe in terms of 'net neutrality'? In April 2014, the European Parliament voted to protect net neutrality in order to limit telecoms providers to charges third parties for faster network access. Even so, ISPs still could offer some specialized services for higher prices as long as these aren’t supplied to the detriment…Read more(i) What are the differences between the US and Europe in terms of ‘net neutrality’? In April 2014, the European Parliament voted to protect net neutrality in order to limit telecoms providers to charges third parties for faster network access. Even so, ISPs still could offer some specialized services for higher prices as long as these aren’t supplied to the detriment of others. Europe reversed this legislation three days ago. A majority of 28 member states in European Council voted in favor of changing the law: now ISPs are allowed to offer specialized services that require high quality Internet access to work. Meanwhile, in the United States, it has been followed another path. In 2010, FCC approved Open Internet Order which, under three basic rules (transparency, no blocking and no unreasonable discrimination) in order to preserve the Internet as an open platform enabling consumer choice, freedom of expression, end-user control, competition, and the freedom to innovate without permission. On February 26, the FCC approved the proposal of FCC chairman Tom Wheeler to regulate broadband Internet as a public utility. The new rules are intended to ensure that no content is blocked and that the Internet is not divided into fast lanes for those who pay and slow lanes for the others So, it is clear that USA and EU have different points of view about the importance and necessity of net neutrality. (ii) What do economists think, what do lawyers think, what do ‘Internet activists’ think, etc ? Economists have mixed opinions about the topic. Mark Hendrickson, Professor of Economics at Grove City College, assert that net neutrality is anti-economic because preventing prioritization is protecting the weak and inefficient competitors. In contrast, Hsing Kenneth Cheng and Subhajyoti Bandyopadhyay of the University of Florida and Hong Guo of the University of Notre Dame, in their paper “The Debate on Net Neutrality: A Policy Perspective” used game theory to demonstrate that the ISPs’s incentives to expand are higher when net neutrality exist. In the legal perspective, Susan Crawford, a Professor of Law in Harvard Law School who served as President Barack Obama’s Special Assistant for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy, in favor of net neutrality, argued that competition would keep prices in line and would spur innovation and improve services. This argument forms the basis for US anti-trust legislation. Ot van Daalen, a lawyer who helped push through the Dutch net neutrality rules, state that, if exist a healthy competition, net neutrality is not necessary, but in USA there is less competition than in Europe, so regulation is necessary, in his opinion. Internet activists see the FCC actuation as a victory over the nation’s big cable companies. (ii) What are the effects of regulations or laws that have already been passed in a number countries? Chile was the first country, with its General Telecommunications Law in 2010. On June 2014, Chile banned to give big companies “zero-rating” to their services. Zero-rating meant large companies could make deals with mobile operator to offer the most basic version of their service without charging consumers for data use. This gave an advantage to big companies because more consumers were exposed to their services. Net neutrality advocates clamed that deals went against open Internet principles. By blocking data-free access, Chile restricted its citizens from previewing it before purchasing data. The Netherlands was the second country to adopt open Internet rules, after Chile. Two years after, the catastrophic prophecies that some opponents have predicted have not happened yet. Consumers have equally fast Internet, the costs have not raised and telecommunications companies continue investing to improve their infrastructures. Sources: http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/internet/net-neutrality-debate-underlying-dynamics-research-perspectives http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/03/europe-reverses-course-on-net-neutrality-legislation/ http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/technology/net-neutrality-fcc-vote-internet-utility.html?ref=topics&_r=0 http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/business/dutch-offer-preview-of-net-neutrality.html?ref=topics http://www.forbes.com/sites/markhendrickson/2015/02/27/the-sad-reality-of-net-neutrality/ http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2015/02/26/fcc-votes-in-favor-of-net-neutrality-internet-activists-declare-victory/ http://www.newsweek.com/how-net-neutrality-working-countries-have-it-269632 Show less Reply Laurie Lima-Rivera 10 March 2015 When I first heard about net neutrality, I tried to understand the concept but didn’t quite managed to. This article allowed me to dig deeper into this subject. If, like me, you understand better a concept when it is discussed with a little bit of humour, I suggest you this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpbOEoRrHyU, as well as all Last Week Tonight with…Read moreWhen I first heard about net neutrality, I tried to understand the concept but didn’t quite managed to. This article allowed me to dig deeper into this subject. If, like me, you understand better a concept when it is discussed with a little bit of humour, I suggest you this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fpbOEoRrHyU, as well as all Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’s channel. Here is a short timeline for those who aren’t up to date (1): On April 23, 2014: the FCC was considering a new law to let the IPS’s offer 2 different lanes according to what the companies can afford: a fast lane for big companies and their big budget and a slower one for the others. The FCC stands for Federal Communications Commission, which is separated from the government. This caused a lot of manifestations among the USA, not only from citizens and small companies but also from big companies like Google, Facebook, etc. The vote happened on May 15th with a 3-2 result, allowing IPS’s to charge their customers for better services (2). People were all pointing at the president of FCC, Tom Wheeler, who is a former cable and telecoms lobbyist. On November 10th, Obama declared that he supported the idea of net neutrality. After that, Wheeler was willing to find a compromise. On February, 26th 2015: FCC voted to reclassify the status of IPS’s to “common carriers” (which means that they are private companies providing a public service) and Net Neutrality rules with a 3-2 vote. The document was called “Protecting and promoting the open Internet” (3). The FCC stated that “these new rules are guided by three principles: America’s broadband networks must be fast, fair and open — principles shared by the overwhelming majority of the nearly 4 million commenters who participated in the FCC’s Open Internet proceeding.” That is thus great news for the USA, but what is the situation around the world? Closer to our country, The Netherlands have actually adopted a rule about net neutrality in 2012, after Chile in 2010. Dutchmen agree to say they didn’t even feel a change in their Internet services after this law (4). Finally, to bring a small answer to the question that is the title of this article: Can Obama’s initiative ensures that ‘internet fast lanes’ do not develop to the detriment of standard access? Let’s say that having Obama strongly asking you to reconsider your point of view is something really powerful, as Tom Wheeler begins to doubt himself the day after that event. (1) http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/net-neutrality-timeline/ (2) http://www.zone-numerique.com/neutralite-du-net-la-fcc-a-change-les-regles-mais-les-acteurs-du-web-resistent.html (3) http://www.journaldugeek.com/2015/03/03/victoire-neutralite-du-net-consacree-etats-unis/ (4) http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/business/dutch-offer-preview-of-net-neutrality.html?_r=0 Show less Reply Paul Belleflamme 11 March 2015 Funny video indeed! Heijmans Gaëtan 10 March 2015 “Net neutrality is a network design paradigm that argues for broadband network providers to be completely detached from what information is sent over their networks. In essence, it argues that no bit of information should be prioritized over another.” (1) The ideal of net neutrality is not easy to implement. (3) Some experts said that traffic discrimination is needed…Read more“Net neutrality is a network design paradigm that argues for broadband network providers to be completely detached from what information is sent over their networks. In essence, it argues that no bit of information should be prioritized over another.” (1) The ideal of net neutrality is not easy to implement. (3) Some experts said that traffic discrimination is needed to improve the quality of services but discrimination could be anticompetitive. The point of view of Europe and the US on this issue are a bit difference but they try to strike a right balance between the net neutrality and the need of the ISPs to earn enough money to invest in the next-generation infrastructure. In Europe, for instance, in September 2013 the European Commission (EC) has published proposal revising the telecommunication regulation and according a kind of restriction system. In April 2014, the European Parliament adopted a draft legislative compromise. The goal of this one was to prohibit any kind of restriction on internet traffic by the Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Otherwise some cases escape the rule but only if it is to implement a court order, to preserve the integrity and security of the network or to prevent and mitigate network congestion and if the ISPs are transparent, non-discriminatory, proportionate and necessary. But the net neutrality issue make some troubles between the Member States. Indeed two countries – Slovenia and the Netherlands – introduced a law for safeguarding an open internet. In the US, the net neutrality is a more defended concept than in Europe. The US President Obama reacts to the proposal of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) which allows ISPs to charge for favored access to bandwith the content providers such as Youtube or Netflix which need a large bandwith. He asked the FCC to reclassify broadband networks as utility. He goes in the same direction than the internet activists and firms that are for the complete net neutrality. The cable and telecoms firms think that they should be allowed to manage their networks because they have to generate money to invest. The economists think that it can be profitable to have a differentiation on quality and price for consumers but only if there is an absence of anticompetitive discrimination. In the US, there is a lower competition than in Europe and it will be difficult to avoid abusive monopoly strategy. They also think that ISPs need to earn money to invest in a more efficient infrastructure. Netherlands is one of the example of country where neutrality exists. Although a marginal increase of prices the situation stay the same and the Dutch always take advantage of one of the best network in the world. But what will be the result with a worst network? Will the net neutrality be the solution for an efficient network? Sources: 1. https://www.ocf.berkeley.edu/~raylin/whatisnetneutrality.htm 2. http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21632020 3. http://www.ipdigit.eu/2012/02/net-neutrality-where-do-we-stand-in-europe/ Show less Reply Rafael Moreira 10 March 2015 (i) What are the differences between the US and Europe in terms of 'net neutrality'? The telecommunications market in the US is very different from the European market. Now due to the higher concentration, sometimes due to the amount of countries and national players vying for the European "single market". The recent decision of the US government to seek to…Read more(i) What are the differences between the US and Europe in terms of ‘net neutrality’? The telecommunications market in the US is very different from the European market. Now due to the higher concentration, sometimes due to the amount of countries and national players vying for the European “single market”. The recent decision of the US government to seek to regulate the network neutrality issue has to do with this competitive structure present in the American market. Especially after the agreements signed between Netflix and Comcast, the OTT provider decided to pay for exclusivity traffic to the ISP, the principle of network neutrality has been violated before regulation. In this direction the US government has approved changes in Title II, enabling broadband services are classified as public services, subject to greater regulation. There is a huge debate to build the concepts and exemptions on net neutrality in the USA. Since the summer of 2010 the European Commission has launched two public consultations to explore issues of internet traffic management, but despite the evidence revealed by BEREC’s investigations, no concrete actions have been undertaken to prevent network discrimination. At the end of 2012 the European Parliament adopted two resolutions supporting the need for legislation that would enshrine net neutrality in order to ensure the completion of the European Digital Single Market. The European Commission is currently looking to publish its “Recommendations on the Open Internet and Network Neutrality”, but there are concrete cases in the national level. I would like to cite the case with strict Dutch rules on network neutrality, which allows, in a competitive market, expand broadband offer faster. (ii). What do economists think, what do lawyers think, what do ‘Internet activists’ think, etc ? Regarding economists, I would like to quote from the “Economists’ Statement on Network Neutrality Policy” (Baumol et al, 2007), to point out the view currently imposed on them.According to the article by many economists: “Regulation of prices and services has often resulted in costs that exceed benefits, especially in competitive markets. Highly dynamic markets, such as those for high-speed Internet services, pose particular problems because they change so quickly. In such dynamic markets, it is difficult for regulators to determine appropriate prices because technology and consumer demands are so difficult to forecast; and introducing price regulation risks discouraging the healthy process of risk-taking innovation”. There are a bonded set of three suggestions, which are based on expanding competition, monitor the abuse of economic power behavior and allow different business models that can discriminate prices. Or be, there is not an inflammatory speech by issues such as freedom of expression, expanding access to new digital content, etc, on contrary, a vision based on market structure and economic incentives for troubleshooting arising from net neutrality (multi-sided platform, quality x price, competition in the last mile, etc). For lawyers the approach is a little different because it is based on compliance with legal requirements or legal loopholes that allow violate any legal provision. Topics such as access providers block, exceptions to the principle of network neutrality explicit in law, legal definition of concepts such as “discrimination”, port blocking, sponsored plans, among others are the main concerns of lawyers. Regarding the “Internet activists” with net neutrality, their view is that users will have access to more diverse content and blocking filter effects of content that are now applied by the major content providers. There is also a gain in capacity for autonomy, since users will have greater incentives to also become content providers according them. There are also significant gains in the field of freedom of expression and human rights, as net neutrality would prevent ISPs to create content blocks. On the other hand, heavy users of specific applications may have to pay more for Internet access, decreasing its customizability subscription plans. (iii). Beyond USA and Europe: Brazilian case The issue of network neutrality has been growing attention to the regulations in various countries of the world. In the Brazilian case the subject has undergone extensive debate to be included in the Bill of Rights on Internet (Marco Civil), since the practices of discrimination or differential charging of traffic for more intensive use of the telecommunications network were growing in number in the country. Associations of internet service providers and consumer advocacy have identified various forms of discrimination traffic, the most common blockages or restrictions on voice over IP (VoIP) and peer-to-peer mechanisms. Since they refer to practices found, some countries have chosen to deal with the neutrality in specific legislation. In Brazil traffic discrimination is prohibited, however, there are three exceptional situations: (i) technical requirement essential to the adequate provision of services and applications; and (ii) priority to emergency services . For telecom operators, holders of telecommunications networks, this is a scenario that does not matter, because it prevents the exploitation of a new market preferably traffic contracts. Hence one of the attempts to modify the Marco Civil provided an exception to network neutrality rule, allowing it to be disregarded in the case of trade agreements. But such explicit exceptions have not been approved by the Brazilian government, which meant that many alternative proposals were discussed in National Congress. For instance, at times the legislative debate, proposals have emerged trying to limit the concept of network neutrality, speaking on “Internet neutrality” or “data packets on the Internet.” The Brazilian government resisted this kind of change, especially due to some technical issues presented on the architecture of data networks in mobile telephony. For instance, the debate brought by some economic segments consists in affirming that mobile networks do not provide access to the Internet directly, but through a private network access of each carrier, hidden behind a NAT, that is who assumes the public address of this network on the Internet. In theory, they say, if an application is just that network behind NAT, it would not be an Internet application and network neutrality rules would not apply in this case. That would be a loophole that would allow, for example, Facebook or other applications that do direct access agreements to these networks without using the public network. It is important to emphasize that the discrimination or degradation of traffic mentioned above will be regulated in accordance with the private attributions granted to the President of the Republic, upon consultation with the Internet Steering Committee (CGI.br) and the National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel). In this direction, there is a tension in the process of regulation of net neutrality in Brazil. There are more permissive proposals for business models that require higher speed and bandwidth can be implemented by exception in (i) above. On the other hand, there are more restrictive views, advocating a strict legal approach to the implementation of neutrality, not allowing any deviation from throwing exceptions. Sources: Brazil. Bill of Law n. 12.965/2014. General Internet Framework Law. http://www.planalto.gov.br/ccivil_03/_ato2011-2014/2014/lei/l12965.htm http://www.neutralidadedarede.com.br/ http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=976889 http://www.openforumacademy.org/library/ofa-research/OFA%20Net%20Neutrality%20in%20the%20EU%20-%20Country%20Factsheets%2020130905.pdf http://nebula.wsimg.com/c65488b3edff49adc2dba84e344591bd?AccessKeyId=B45063449B96D27B8F85&disposition=0 Show less Reply Paul Belleflamme 11 March 2015 Thanks for providing us with the Brazilian perspective. Charles Harmel 10 March 2015 After having read this article, I find it particularly interesting to analyse the ways a legal framework has emerged for both the United States and Europe: For the USA, in November 2014, Obama had urged the FCC to adopt clear rules on net neutrality. He asked the FFC to reclassify broadband network as utility, as this reclassification would lead to more federal…Read moreAfter having read this article, I find it particularly interesting to analyse the ways a legal framework has emerged for both the United States and Europe: For the USA, in November 2014, Obama had urged the FCC to adopt clear rules on net neutrality. He asked the FFC to reclassify broadband network as utility, as this reclassification would lead to more federal regulation and stricter rules on the ISP’s. These statements had occurred as a result of the proposition of the FFC to give Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) the freedom to charge for favoured access to bandwidth the content providers. This would have permitted for providers to abuse their positions, as consumers would not have many choices when it comes to broadband services in America. It would also have permitted broadband services to fall in a category classified as « information services » which are unregulated. On February the 26th of 2015, The FFC has for the first time classified Internet providers as public utilities. The FFC chairman argued that the agency needed to take a dramatic step to preserve « fast, fair and open Internet » and also argued that « the Internet is simply too important to allow broadband providers to be the ones making the rules ». Broadband services has then been reclassified as telecommunications services and this reclassification has resulted in some significant changes such as the interdiction to block or speed up the connections for a fee or the interdiction to strike deals with content firms for smoother delivery of traffic to consumers, etc. What really changes is that we have a legal framework that will allow having a clear vision of what companies can and cannot do. It will also allow customers to be more protected. But this decision doesn’t please Internet providers and it might not be impossible to see some of them take legal action against the regulation. Network operators also claim that the huge investments required for next-generation infrastructure should be shared with the large online service providers who generate the most traffic (such as Netflix or YouTube). Regarding Europe, In April 2011, the Commission asked the body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) to make researches on some crucial issues regarding communications in all forms. The BEREC published in 2012 the results of the traffic investment management and it showed that there was an undeniable problem regarding open Internet in Europe. As a matter of fact, there still didn’t exist any clear rules on net neutrality in Europe. There was no legal framework, leading to uneven levels of protections and a variety of diverging rules in different member states. In April 2014, The European Parliament has adopted the « net neutrality » proposal consisting in a clear legal framework setting the boundaries for Internet providers. The « net neutrality » law aims to treat all internet traffic equally by making it illegal to block, slow down, or give preferential treatment to certain specific applications and services for economic or other reasons. But this week, a new proposal by Latvia (currently holding the presidency of council of European Union) laying out the concept of net neutrality is set to be discussed by the European Policy makers. This proposal could set up rules more lenient and permit to telecom operators to be free to enter into agreements to deliver a better or faster service so long as the Internet connection for the majority of users isn’t impaired by such deals. We can see that Europe and United states had the same desire to establish a policy concerning net neutrality and finally adopted laws to fulfil it. But European Union has reopened the debate with the Latvian proposal advocating more lenient rules concerning net neutrality, that might be showing the willingness of Europe to be more open to freedom for operators. We would have to wait the result of the new proposal to see if Europe is going to take a more flexible position concerning net neutrality than United States. http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21632020 http://www.ipdigit.eu/2012/02/net-neutrality-where-do-we-stand-in-europe/ http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/eu-actions http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31638528 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2015/02/26/the-fcc-set-to-approve-strong-net-neutrality-rules/ http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26865869 http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-31748592 http://www.wsj.com/articles/eu-considers-lenient-rules-on-net-neutrality-mobile-world-1425394718 http://jurist.org/paperchase/2014/04/european-parliament-approves-net-neutrality-proposal.php Show less Reply De Kort Charlotte 10 March 2015 Differences between US and EU There is a difference in regulatory factors that we need to take into account when discussing the debate about net neutrality. In America there are much more regulations concerning net neutrality then in the EU. A possible reason why they have more regulations in America could be because there are not a large bunch of broadband…Read moreDifferences between US and EU There is a difference in regulatory factors that we need to take into account when discussing the debate about net neutrality. In America there are much more regulations concerning net neutrality then in the EU. A possible reason why they have more regulations in America could be because there are not a large bunch of broadband service providers. This means that American consumers do not have much choice when it comes to choosing a provider but also that these providers could easily abuse their position of power. Concerning these regulations, America’s telecommunications law classifies services into two different categories. Either the service is considered as an information service, either the service is classified under telecommunication services. The first one is not subjected to a lot of regulations while the last one is subjected to a lot of rules. Recently, Obama wants the FCC to re-classify the entire network in America. He does not want any service using slow lanes because thy will not pay a fee. Obama does not want any kind of gatekeeping that could potentially undermine the level playing field essential to the Internet’s growth. Said otherwise he ops for no paid prioritization or any other kind of restriction of that genre. On the contrary in the EU there are much less rules on net neutrality and different member state have different rules about it. This implies more freedom for operators. However the EU is strengthening its regulation about net neutrality. Form March 2014 forwards, Internet service providers are not allowed to slow down competitors’ services. On the contrary member states fight for a prioritization of services that want fast access for their consumers. What do the different parties think? According to experts, traffic discrimination is a good thing because it will improve the quality of the services within limited bandwidth. However they also acknowledge that this discrimination could work anti-competitive as well (when an operator accelerates traffic of a particular provider at the expense of the others, which will get slower traffic). Activist groups do also have their opinion about the debate of net-neutrality. The reason why they opt for net neutrality is two folded. Firstly they strongly belief that net-neutrality is the way to go because any intervention would be incompatible with the spirit of freedom of information. Secondly, they belief that some big internet-service providers would abuse their market power to fight against others (that are in competition with their products). Thirdly, they argue that these large internet-service providers could charge fast access. Service and content providers (such as Skype and the BBC), who opt for a more robust regulation because they argue that traffic is sometimes slowed down by operators. Contrary to the service and content providers, the operators (such as AT&T and Orange and telecom providers) opt for some kind of regulation of traffic management. They are against net neutrality because they claim they should be allowed to charge firms for faster access and in this regard pay off their investment in these large, content generating networks. Net neutrality beneficial? According to literature welfare effects of net-neutrality regulation tend to be ambiguous. The impact on welfare of a zero price rule depends on the relative magnitude of the network externalities and the impact of a non-discrimination rule on welfare depends on various parameters such as the nature of completion. Therefore literature concludes that the case of strict net-neutrality regulation is not compelling. However, Net neutrality has been proven to be beneficial for countries that adopted it, for example the Netherlands. The net neutrality increased prices a little (because of less competitive pressure inherent to the concept of net neutrality) but also faster streaming was observed. Show less Reply Debuisson Nicolas 10 March 2015 This topic is particularly large and there a lot of important point to consider. From an economic point of view, the first important thing to me is the risk of abuse of dominant position by the telecom operators. Telecom operators have market power. By curbing the use of youtube, operators will encourage the use of youtube competitors (like dailymotion for…Read moreThis topic is particularly large and there a lot of important point to consider. From an economic point of view, the first important thing to me is the risk of abuse of dominant position by the telecom operators. Telecom operators have market power. By curbing the use of youtube, operators will encourage the use of youtube competitors (like dailymotion for example). We could even imagine a situation where dailymotion pay for clamping youtube. In case of youtube and dailymotion will pay for more bandwidth, there may be a conflict of interest for telecom operators. Which focus between the two if the two content providers pay? Also from an economic point of view, the clamping of some internet sites that are greedy in bandwidth could be a good thing for consumers. Indeed, various offers of Internet service providers are likely to grow according to the needs of each consumer. Consumers who need a lot of bandwidth are probably willing to pay more expensive for a quality service where no site would be curbed. These are most often the historical telecom operators who providing this kind of service because they already have the necessary infrastructure. Consumers who require little bandwidth could find cheaper deals that would meet their needs. Indeed, this system encourages the emergence of new cheap competitors and the emergence of new competitors could lower general prices. Indeed, the main costs to enter the telecommunications market are the network installation cost (= fixed costs). If there needs less bandwidth there needs less infrastructure and therefore the costs are reduced to enter the market. We can imagine that new operators will enter the market to offer a low cost offer. Some lowcost operators will remain on this niche market while others will be able to gradually develop to compete with larger incumbents. At the end, there was more supply and consumers are happier. Show less Reply Miguel Deraedt 10 March 2015 The Internet is one of the major innovations our world has seen and has revolutionized entire industries. It has grown quite fast in absence of major regulation, consequence of its youth. But now the Internet has matured and become so important that both the European Union and the United states felt the need to legislate and regulate it. This involves…Read moreThe Internet is one of the major innovations our world has seen and has revolutionized entire industries. It has grown quite fast in absence of major regulation, consequence of its youth. But now the Internet has matured and become so important that both the European Union and the United states felt the need to legislate and regulate it. This involves one of its most basic aspects, its neutrality. The neutrality of the internet consists in keeping it open to everyone and do not discriminate based on its use, as long as it is lawful, obviously, or the origin of the user, a competitor for example. On this matter, we can find at least two conflicting opinions. Supporters of neutrality argue that if Internet has grown so fast, it is due to its neutrality and that taking it away would leave internet in corporate hands. They argue that this would deter innovation and raise prices because firms in charge of the internet will abuse of their dominant position to clear the field of any competitors and discriminate on the prices allowing people who pay more to have faster access to internet. One of the main features of Internet is its lack of direction and they argue that this has spurted major innovation. Supporters of less neutrality argue that the investments needed for the internet to go to the next level will only be provided if enough incentives are given. They also argue that regulations means higher costs for internet providers and that providers should be able to discriminate to deliver to each user exactly what he has paid for, no more, no less. They also believe that discrimination will mean more competition, more innovation by matching more effectively supply and demand. Both groups reject the latest regulation in the United States, the requalification of the Internet as a tool of communication under title 2. The first one finds the regulation gives too much power to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and that the FCC will use this newfound authority to regulate and restrict the Internet. The FCC has said they will not use all of the provisions of the law but they fear that once you open the door, there will only be more and more regulation. The second group says that this will cripple firms forcing them to transfer costs to end users making Internet less attractive. It forces them to make standardized pack giving to customers more or less (depending on which point of view (customer or firm) you consider) than what they need. The United States are presently more net neutrals than the European Union simply because Europe lacks a harmonized canvas concerning net neutrality but they are headed in the same direction. New regulation should increase competition and lower price for consumers but they should avoid going as far as the United States if they do not want to anger internet activists, champions of a free and open internet. The economic benefits in Europe are easily predictable because they are the result of larger market for Internet. The drivers of innovation, competition and prices are much more complex. Supporters and opponents of net neutrality both base their analysis on previsions and guesses. Here are a few examples to illustrate my point. On the one hand, supporters say that a major innovation could not happen if we discriminate on Internet. They also fear that firms will abuse of their power. On the other hand, opponents say that they need to adapt to the customer. They also argue that they do not have the resources to provide better and faster internet. Both could be right, both could be wrong and as always the answer lies in the middle. Sources : http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/fcc-reclassify-broadband-title-ii-explained/ https://www.ncta.com/TitleII http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/settle-the-net-neutrality-debate-with-legislation/2015/02/11/9f130758-b0ac-11e4-827f-93f454140e2b_story.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ted-cruz-regulating-the-internet-threatens-entrepreneurial-freedom/2014/11/13/a0a852e6-6aaf-11e4-a31c-77759fc1eacc_story.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/obamas-internet-rules-would-do-more-harm-than-good/2014/11/14/64a795d0-6b82-11e4-a31c-77759fc1eacc_story.html http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/net-neutrality-challenges http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26865869 Show less Reply Marine Malherbe 10 March 2015 In mays 2014, the chairman of the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) raised an idea that would have compromise the net neutrality. His idea was to give to the ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) the possibility to charge higher fees to companies/people willing to have a better visibility on the Internet. This idea would have discriminate small companies with less financial resources…Read moreIn mays 2014, the chairman of the FCC (Federal Communication Commission) raised an idea that would have compromise the net neutrality. His idea was to give to the ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) the possibility to charge higher fees to companies/people willing to have a better visibility on the Internet. This idea would have discriminate small companies with less financial resources but more important it would have threatened the freedom of speech. It’s tanks to protests from activists and thanks to the call of Barack Obama that the FCC finally decided to reclassify Broadband Internet service as an information service. It means that the law now sees the Internet just like a newspaper; a place where everybody can write and that everybody can consult. So in the US we can see that it is the FCC that has taken decisions in terms of regulation and protection of net neutrality. On the contrary, in Europe, it is the governments that have the power to take such decisions. Indeed the European Parliament has adopted a legislative compromise and now it is the role of the member states to apply the legislation on their territory. So in my opinion the big differences between the US and Europe in terms of net neutrality is the decision makers. They differ from US to Europe. Concerning the opinions on net neutrality I think we can identify two principal categories of actors: the first composed of IPS’s and the second composed of Internet activists and companies. So we have on the one hand the ISP’s that argue they should be allowed to charge fees to companies willing to provide a fast and reliable access to their customers. They argue it would permit them to invest more in their network and to enhance the quality of their services. On the other hand we have Internet activists and firms that are of course in favor of net neutrality. Activists because they are willing to have easy access to all information and data they need. Firms because big companies would gain a competitive advantage by being able to pay higher fees. Economist would also be in favor of net neutrality. Indeed the Open Internet is very important for the business world. It offers an open marketplace where small companies and startup have the opportunity to thrive. Indeed a lot of companies use the Internet to reach new customers, to advertise and distribute their products. Small companies would not have this possibility without net neutrality because of a lack of financial resources. Beside the fact that net neutrality provide competition field for companies, the net neutrality is also very important for innovation by as we said providing to startup the opportunity to present their products and to thrive. Finally, lawyers should be in favor of net neutrality in the sense that preventing net neutrality would violate series of laws linked to the freedom of speech for example. References http://www.savetheinternet.com/net-neutrality-what-you-need-know-now https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/net-neutrality-challenges http://transition.fcc.gov/telecom.html http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-26865869 https://www.aclu.org/net-neutrality Show less Reply Chloé Jacquemin 9 March 2015 Net neutrality is the concept that all the traffic on the internet is treated equally, and that no internet service can give an advantage to a content provider by allowing it a higher speed of services. Regarding this concept of net neutrality, the US and Europe are subject to variations. In the US, on the 26th February 2015, the Federal Communications…Read moreNet neutrality is the concept that all the traffic on the internet is treated equally, and that no internet service can give an advantage to a content provider by allowing it a higher speed of services. Regarding this concept of net neutrality, the US and Europe are subject to variations. In the US, on the 26th February 2015, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has voted to guarantee net neutrality under the title II of the Communications Acts (1) . This means that internet is now run as a public utility. Nonetheless, not everyone is satisfied of this recent change. NCTA, which is the trade associations for the cable industry in the US, is not in favor of rules about net neutrality for three main reasons (2) : • Consumers will pay more; • There will be less investments in network upgrades, innovation and service enhancements; • The level of competition and consumer adoption will be reduced. If we compare the above situation with the one of the EU, it seems that net neutrality is more visible in US and that the FCC has adopted stronger measures than in the EU. Indeed, there are currently less rules on net neutrality at the EU level: it is subject to a wide variety of diverging rules in the different Member States. The result is that this fragmentation is costly for operators and unsatisfactory for end-users given that the hinder to provision of services across borders negatively impacts end-users’ willingness to consume these services (3). That being said, some improvements are being pursued with, in March 2014, the adoption of several rules that included stronger requirements on net neutrality: internet service providers can’t block or slow down internet services provided by competitors. However, the majority of the member states of the EU have now also voted to allow a prioritization for specialized services that require a high quality access. As one could expect, the point of views on net neutrality vary depending on the nature of the actor. Internet activists militate for net neutrality in the name of freedom of expression in the sense that an internet service provider can’t interfere with what the users do on the internet. Moreover, they say that if the government gives privileges to big companies (for instance because the latter can afford high prices for “fast lane”), they are eventually going to control internet, which may be detrimental for start-ups. Regarding the economists, 3 distinct points of view on network neutrality can be mentioned (4): – The first point of view is that differentiation on quality and price can be beneficial for the consumers in absence of anticompetitive discrimination. For instance, in Europe, the prioritization of “specialized” services can be beneficial since the market in EU is more competitive than the one in the US. Indeed, in the US, the market is essentially duopolistic (with AT&T and Verizon (5)), while Europe is the playing field of much more telecom companies; – In the second view, internet service providers can be seen as a two-multi sided platform since it connects providers of contents with end users. To this extent, there are some debates about the division of revenue and costs between these three actors; – The last view concerns the economic foreclosure that may be harmful. In a situation of economic disclosure, one internet service provider that holds market power can extend this power to other players that can’t compete due to this excess of market power. It may be harmful in the sense that these internet service providers with a high market power can inhibit content providers to innovate and provide new applications, which create a deadweight loss for the society. Next to these different views, numeral studies say that if the market competition is effective, market solutions are more efficient that regulatory solutions since the latter ignore market signals. Lawyers, on their side, think nonetheless that internet is well too big platform to leave the big content providers make the rules. Sources: (1) http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/fcc-reclassify-broadband-title-ii-explained/ (2) https://www.ncta.com/TitleII (3) http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/eu-actions (4)http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2014/518751/IPOL_STU%282014%29518751_EN.pdf (5) http://blogs.wsj.com/corporate-intelligence/2014/08/20/att-vs-verizon-portrait-of-a-telecom-duopoly/ Show less Reply Lowyck Marie 8 March 2015 On February 26, 2015, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) adopted new rules about net neutrality. The law forbids the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to make a distinction between access bandwidth for companies. This makes the difference with Europe where the subject is also under discussion since several months. In September 2013, the European Commission (EC) published a proposal for a…Read moreOn February 26, 2015, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) adopted new rules about net neutrality. The law forbids the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to make a distinction between access bandwidth for companies. This makes the difference with Europe where the subject is also under discussion since several months. In September 2013, the European Commission (EC) published a proposal for a regulation. The text of the proposal allowed the telecom operator to provide specialized services on basis of quality. In April 2014, a draft legislative compromise was adopted by the European Parliament which is describing the shade of « quality of services ». Therefore, the two systems look different and the context in Europe seems more open to freedom for operators, while in USA, with the statements of Barack Obama, it should not be possible to make a distinction on fees basis, the situation seems more regulated. The opinions of economists and companies are mixed. Indeed some economists think that internet had flourished in the past years because it was free of government regulations. The system works well, so why should we need to change it ? The economists think that this measure will kill job creation and decrease the investment and innovation on the field. The leaders of the market want to have the right to manage themselves the contracts with their clients. Others believe that the rules could instead encourage investment in online services, especially in startups without important funds. According to Republican Commissioner Ajjit Pai, the regulation of internet will allow rate regulation, the rate will go up and broadband service will slow. He thinks that it is a new way to install taxes. Some firms such as Verizon do not agree with the decision and are considering the introduction of a judicial procedure. On the other hand, the measure defends the equality. Indeed, in a democracy, the same treatment for all the companies is needed, whether large or small, and not a special treatment for some ones. The freedom of expression is fundamental, and today, it is represented by internet. Twitter, Netflix and other companies agree with the measure. The new proposal is approved by an expert of the UNO, David Kaye, who welcomes the change of mentalities. An example of a country where neutrality exists is the Netherlands. The proposition was adopted in 2012. The situation has not changed very much since the decision of neutrality. The prices increased marginally but the residents surf and stream quickly and the Dutch network is one of the world’s best. The telecommunication companies in the Netherlands have also continued to invest in infrastructure and technology, including the speed of the network all around the country. According to Akamai Technologies, the speed is around 14 megabits in a second, 10% up since 2013. In the USA, the speed is around 11,5 megabits in a second, so we can state that the technology in the Netherlands is continuing to perform well. According to Winston Maxwell, a lawyer, the difference between the two countries, is the competition. If the client sees that the operator is changing prices without explication or is using priority of bandwidth, he will leave the operator. But, in the United States, the competition is relatively limited while in the Netherlands; there exists a sufficient competition in order to attract new clients and change quickly of operator. This competition, rather than the neutrality, generates an increase of technology (speed) and also a war of prices. To conclude, as the competition is lower in the USA, it may be useful to have a good regulation to avoid an abusive monopoly behavior. Sources : • http://pro.01net.com/editorial/647961/le-regulateur-americain-defend-sa-vision-de-la-neutralite-du-net/ • http://www.rtbf.be/info/medias/detail_etats-unis-le-regulateur-des-telecoms-consacre-la-neutralite-d-internet?id=8917579 • https://www.stopnetregulation.org/ • http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/27/business/dutch-offer-preview-of-net-neutrality.html?_r=1 • http://www.arcep.fr/index.php?id=12607 Show less Reply Joseph Abi-Khalil 8 March 2015 I) Difference between US and Europe in terms of net neutrality: In order to ensure consumers´ protection and net neutrality, a regulatory framework should be imposed. It is obvious from the above that there is a link between the intensity of ‘network neutrality’ concerns and the competitiveness of the market for broadband access (fixed, mobile or otherwise). Thus, in the…Read moreI) Difference between US and Europe in terms of net neutrality: In order to ensure consumers´ protection and net neutrality, a regulatory framework should be imposed. It is obvious from the above that there is a link between the intensity of ‘network neutrality’ concerns and the competitiveness of the market for broadband access (fixed, mobile or otherwise). Thus, in the US in order to regulate the market, the FCC(Federal Communications Commission) released it’s Open Internet Order where 3 principles were set and that broadband ISP have to follow : 1) ‘Transparency’: including in particular disclosure of “network management Practices” and performance characteristics of their services (the measure is transparent to the end-user) 2) ‘no blocking’ principle’: which applies differently to fixed and mobile ISPs. Fixed ISPs are prevented from blocking any lawful content or non-harmful device, whereas mobile ISPs are prevented only from blocking lawful websites or applications which compete with their own services. (The end-user controls the measure. The FCC therefore allows the introduction of differentiated QoS towards end-users) 3) ‘No unreasonable discrimination’ principle: here only for fixed ISPs, whereby they may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful traffic. Concerning the European regulatory framework, a number of issues relate to abuses of market power appear when competitors are excluded as a result of vertical integration or it appears when exclusive agreements between content providers and ISPs are made and would enjoy significant market power (or dominance). This behavior can consist in discrimination (not allowing competitors to benefit from the same QoS despite their willingness to pay) or blocking (either preventing affiliated content from being available via rival ISPs). EU Competition law can apply in such cases. Indeed, having this kind of behavior coming from a firm with significant market power and that it has an anticompetitive effect; it will be prohibited under Article 102 of the European Treaty (abuse of a dominant position. Thus, this article can be applied on the use of discriminatory terms and also on the blocking issues). However, the European Commission has not reached the level of understanding of the longer term issues displayed by the FCC (Open internet ORDER). Thus, at a more fundamental level, the FCC analysis is a mix of technological and economic considerations, whereas the European Commission follows the general principles of EU electronic communications law, i.e. reliance on economic analysis and technological neutrality ‘. II) Different opinions around net neutrality: From an economics point of view, it is important to separate between content providers (google, Amazon), broadband providers (Verizon, BASE), Internet network manager (Belgacom, Verizon) and end-users. Broadband service pricing is unregulated and the debate on net neutrality is whether it should be regulated or not. Net neutrality advocates say that broadband providers must charge content providers a price of zero and must charge end users only in certain prescribed ways. Some think, that the way the internet architecture is, provides big incentives for innovation (Youube, Amazon) while other believe that this innovation could be better for consumers if it could respond to price signals from platform providers such as broadband producers. Thus, this is clearly a price regulation issue. On the other hand, proponents of net neutrality worry that broadband service providers can exercise monopoly power in the market for broadband connections and thus harm consumers. Thus net neutrality could also increase competition which would be beneficial for end users but could eventually reduce incentives for innovation. It would be important to asses which of the benefits or the costs of net neutrality is more important and act in consequences either in Europe or in the US. In my opinion, having the European Pirate party in the European Parliament is essential for promoting net neutrality and the voters concerned with the net neutrality issue would need to support it. Since for this party, also present around the world, net neutrality is a key factor for innovation and for providing the best services for the end-use, indeed as Simon Frew (President pirate party Australia) stated: ´´The next Google or Facebook, being a start-up would not have access to a comparable speed and would find it more difficult to compete with the more powerful incumbents purely because they could afford access to the B-Grade internet. For the internet to remain a place of innovation any attempt to benefit some sections at the cost of others must be resisted.´´ III) Effects of regulation that already have been passed in a number of countries? One of the countries that adopted a law for net neutrality provisions was the Netherlands. Article 7.4a guarantees net neutrality and prohibits providers of public electronic communication networks which deliver internet access services to slow down or hinder applications and services on the internet. They are also prohibited from making the price of the rates for Internet access services dependent on the services and applications which are offered or used via these services. Following this regulation, two service providers KPN for its free hotspot strategy and Vodafone for its HBO strategy were being judged for not respecting the Net neutrality law. The two rulings generated a positive effect on the dutch telecoms market. Banning positive discrimination forces telecommunications providers to compete on general price and data volumes. KPN recently announced that it would increase data volumes and lower its prices for Internet use to “encourage carefree usage”. Thus, we clearly see that the law is beneficial for the countries that they adopted it. We hope that the law would be quickly adopted and imposed for the other European countries. Sources: https://edri.org/netherlands-two-telcos-fined-for-net-neutrality-violations/ http://www.toptechnews.com/article/index.php?story_id=12100B4EZSMJ http://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/eu-actions http://arstechnica.com/business/2015/02/fcc-votes-for-net-neutrality-a-ban-on-paid-fast-lanes-and-title-ii/ http://www.cs.columbia.edu/2014/net-neutrality/ Show less Reply Florent Dauvister 7 March 2015 While net neutrality should be universally considered as common sense, we have seen things developed towards the very opposite of keeping the internet a free place where everyone can access and share information equally. The European and US markets are very different and those differences help to explain the drastic and diametrically opposed paths that the US and EU governments are…Read moreWhile net neutrality should be universally considered as common sense, we have seen things developed towards the very opposite of keeping the internet a free place where everyone can access and share information equally. The European and US markets are very different and those differences help to explain the drastic and diametrically opposed paths that the US and EU governments are currently taking. On the one hand, the US internet market in basically owned by two companies; either the cable television provider Times Warner Cable or the telecommunications provider Comcast. The both of them own about 80% of the US market, why? Because of deregulations that spawned because of the lobbying and disappearances of competitors because there are no clear rules about local-loop unbundling creating an environment that pushes competition. This duopoly created by the lack of actions taken by the government and the power of lobbying are putting the Federal Communications Commission in a very tough spot hindering their chances of making progress towards a more free and more accessible web in the US. The recent stance of Barack Obama on net neutrality is definitely a step in the right direction and gives precedent in order to regulate a market that once was more than a battle of two absolute communication monsters. On the other hand, the European market is much more divided. Despite the fact that most Europeans are serviced by a single telecommunications network operator, they have a big list of broadband provider choices that is made possible thanks to a European framework based on local-loop unbundling, bitstream and shared access. The environment surrounding big telecommunication firms in Europe is much more restrictive well regulated. It doesn’t allow for competition to be hindered on lobbying grounds and always tries to keep Europeans’ best interest at heart. Compared to the US, Europe has seen close to no network neutrality problems in the last decade. A deeper look at the US legislation concerning net neutrality explains the story behind the ever growing question of net neutrality in the US. There are two legal classifications concerning the ISPs: telecommunication services and information services. Both services are subject to different regulations which make it a legislative hell for the FCC to prevent the services providers not to strong harm competitors and push contract terms that are on the border of legality without breaking a sweat. The Bush administration pushed the FFC to classify internet access as information service when sold alongside an internet service, making the ISPs exempt from regulations. Needless to say that this resulted in today’s duopoly market, net neutrality problems, abuse of dominant position and many other issues related to an unregulated market in an ever growing booming telecommunications era. The European legislation concerning net neutrality is much more thorough and doesn’t allow for much leeway and abuse. Many parties are involved in making sure that the internet stays neutral (Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications, the European Commission, the Member State National Regulatory Authorities. Each NRA member is responsible for its national market and is held responsible by the European Commission if abuses emerge. Both the US and European markets have been impacted by the legislations put into place. The US have always had a very laissez faire approach to market regulations until it gets out of hand which is a completely different approach to Europe’s hands on approach to the way the market are regulated on this side of the pond. References – http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201105/20110523ATT20073/20110523ATT20073EN.pdf – http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/STUD/2014/518751/IPOL_STU(2014)518751_EN.pdf Show less Reply Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published. 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