[governance] [Steeringcommittee] Our position on NN Rules published : Net Neutrality: Europe Slips Into Reverse

parminder parminder at itforchange.net
Wed Jul 1 03:27:46 EDT 2015

Thanks Renata.

Indian government too seems to be coming around to a good net neutrality
(NN) position, that would be announced soon.


It seems that zero rating will be banned.

However, there are indications that special public service content could
be exempted.

IT for Change's submission to the government committee on NN


had made a distinction between zero rating as a practice done by telcos
and appropriate 'positive discrimination' that would be decided and
determined by law/policy and administered by the regulator. We consider
it to be zero rating if the decision is in the hands of the telco, but
appropriate 'positive discrimination' if it is determined and dictated
by appropriate law/ policy and the telco has no discretion in it. We
used two examples in our submission; essential public services
(including democratic consultations) and community (Internet) radio.

 We are not able to accept that if, say, the government policy or law,
as administered by the regulator, forces a 'free of data-charges'
channel on all ISPs for essential pubic services and/ or community
radio/media (we can discuss how and what will be considered community
radio - there could be parametres as exist today in most countries), it
should be opposed.

But perhaps we need a discussion here on this issue.

The issue of specialised services - rightly highlighted by WWW
Foundation's blog  - also needs to be discussed. The demarcation in this
case too has to be clear, made at the public policy level and
administered by the regulator, and not be a discretion of the ISPs,
which would always be used to manipulate the NN nature of the Internet. 
That for us is the key principle. But further principles have to be
defined so that 'specialised services' provision does not become a
slippery slope.


On Wednesday 01 July 2015 01:43 AM, Renata Avila wrote:
> Here our
> position: http://webfoundation.org/2015/06/net-neutrality-europe-slips-into-reverse/
>     Net Neutrality: Europe Slips Into Reverse
>         Web Foundation <http://webfoundation.org/author/> · June 30, 2015
>   * Web We Want <http://webfoundation.org/our-work/projects/web-we-want/>
> Following a mammoth negotiating session that ended in the early hours
> of this morning, the European Union (EU) has released their long
> awaited rules on Net Neutrality.
> The EU Commissioner
> <https://twitter.com/DigitalAgendaEU/status/615892188149489665>’s
> tweet and an accompanying press release 
> <http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-5265_en.htm>proclaimed the
> rules as strong protection for net neutrality, but we’re not so sure.
> In fact, our initial response is one of disappointment. As others
> <https://edri.org/blurry-ambiguous-net-neutrality-deal-is-an-abdication-of-responsibility/> have
> pointed out, the proposals are unclear. At best they will lead to
> disputes and confusion, and at worst they could see the creation of a
> two-tier internet. If enacted, these rules would place European
> companies and citizens at a disadvantage when compared to countries
> such as Chile and the USA.
> The good news is, there is still time for decisive action. In the
> coming days, the EU will debate and release clarifications on
> important areas. Then, the full European parliament has to ratify the
> text later this year.
> If you’re worried about the future of the Internet in Europe, send a
> tweet to tell European lawmakers to stand up for true net neutrality!
> <http://twitter.com/home?status=A%20real%20%23DigitalAgenda%20would%20stand%20up%20for%20true%20%23netneutrality%20%40EU_Commission%20%40europarl%20%40EUCouncil%20%23SaveTheInternet%21>
> We’re still digesting the details of the deal, but here are two points
> of immediate concern to us:
> *1. “Specialised services” mean we could see the creation of internet
> fast lanes. *The EU’s proposed deal allows so-called “specialised
> services” – as long as they don’t interfere with the “open Internet”.
> On the face of it, this sounds reasonable. The EU gives the example of
> telesurgery – and we can all agree that doctors should be able to work
> using the internet with a higher level of service in life-critical
> situations.
> Unfortunately, though, opening the door to “specialised services”
> creates a large grey area which is open to abuse. For instance, the EU
> has suggested that Internet TV be classified as a specialised service.
> So where do, say, educational videos on YouTube fit in? When does a
> service become specialised? Also – we can’t imagine now what the
> future will bring. What if the email, search or web of tomorrow is
> classified as a “specialised service” that we have to pay more to
> access? Opening up this can of worms is sure to lead to legal disputes
> and ongoing uncertainty for everyone.
> Ultimately, the only way to stop this is to be bold and pass strong
> net neutrality laws that preserve the Internet as it should be – an
> open platform for innovation. If the EU is determined to press ahead
> with exceptions for “specialised services”, such services should be
> tightly defined after broad public consultation, and take place in
> very limited exceptional circumstances, rather than becoming commonplace.
> *2. “Zero rated” services are to be allowed – with unclear
> safeguards. *Zero-rating plans typically involve internet companies
> and telecoms operators teaming up and offering a particular service or
> bundle of services for free. The EU has decided to allow the practice
> of zero rating, because “zero rating does not block competing
> content”. That’s true, but misses the point that any rational person
> will choose to get something for free, rather than pay for something
> else presented as a close alternative. But in this case, the free
> service could well be just a tiny slice of the open internet, with
> content closely controlled by commercial interests, where the highest
> bidder can pay to have individuals see their content for free. Or, it
> could be something like a particular internet telephony or music
> streaming service.
> As our founder and Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee said when he wrote on
> this topic
> <https://ec.europa.eu/commission/2014-2019/ansip/blog/guest-blog-sir-tim-berners-lee-founding-director-world-wide-web-foundation_en> in
> February: /“Of course, it is not just about blocking and throttling.
> It is also about stopping ‘positive discrimination’, such as when one
> internet operator favours one particular service over another. If we
> don’t explicitly outlaw this, we hand immense power to telcos and
> online service operators. In effect, they can become gatekeepers –
> able to handpick winners and the losers in the market and to favour
> their own sites, services and platforms over those of others. This
> would crowd out competition and snuff out innovative new services
> before they even see the light of day. Imagine if a new start-up or
> service provider had to ask permission from or pay a fee to a
> competitor before they could attract customers? This sounds a lot like
> bribery or market abuse…”/
> Simply allowing zero rating on a blanket basis, with no clear
> guidelines as to what it can be used for, and how it will be
> regulated, seems like a retrograde step to us. The EU should ban zero
> rating unless ‘free data’ can be used to access any part of the Open
> Internet.
> /We’ll be following this topic closely in the weeks ahead. If you
> agree with our concerns, send a tweet today!
> <http://twitter.com/home?status=A%20real%20%23DigitalAgenda%20would%20stand%20up%20for%20true%20%23netneutrality%20%40EU_Commission%20%40europarl%20%40EUCouncil%20%23SaveTheInternet%21>/
> _______________________________________________

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