Mr Micas Open Internet & Net Neutrality DigiWorld Summit 2011 IDATE


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Mr Micas Open Internet & Net Neutrality DigiWorld Summit 2011 IDATE

  1. 1. The open internet and net neutrality in Europe Christian Micas DG Information Society and Media European Commission
  2. 2. Disclaimer <ul><li>The views expressed in this presentation are the views from the speaker and do not necessarily reflect the views from the European Commission </li></ul>•••
  3. 3. The internet today <ul><li>Engine for innovation which owes much of its success to being open and easily accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Decoupling of services and networks decreases barriers to entry for service and content providers </li></ul><ul><li>Borderless provision of services, applications and content </li></ul>•••
  4. 4. Internet – the policy challenge <ul><li>Internet applications require increasing network capacity and quality of service. </li></ul><ul><li>Access remains a bottleneck </li></ul><ul><li>The public policy challenge is to foster investment, innovation and competition while preserving the open and neutral character of the internet </li></ul>•••
  5. 5. What is net neutrality <ul><li>No commonly agreed definition of net neutrality but it can be understood to mean: </li></ul><ul><li>End-users should have the ability to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice </li></ul>•••
  6. 6. The issues <ul><li>Core issue is what is considered as reasonable traffic management </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blocking of VoIP services such as Skype by mobile operators </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Throttling of traffic during peak-time for particular packages – eg BBC iPlayer in the UK </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Additional charges for particular internet services </li></ul></ul>•••
  7. 7. New legislative framework <ul><li>Amendments were made to the Telecoms framework. Adopted in December 2009 </li></ul><ul><li>Several changes are geared toward Net Neutrality-related issues </li></ul><ul><li>Had to be transposed into national laws by May 2011 </li></ul>•••
  8. 8. The Commission Declaration <ul><li>In a declaration attached to the Telecoms framework which was adopted in November 2009, the European Commission noted its commitment to </li></ul><ul><li>« preserving the open and neutral character of the internet  taking full account of the will of the co-legislators now to enshrine net neutrality as a policy objective and regulatory principle to be promoted by national regulatory authorities » </li></ul>•••
  9. 9. New Policy Objective <ul><li>Article 8 (§4) (g) of the Framework Directive </li></ul><ul><li>NRAS should promote the interests of the citizens of the European Union by promoting the ability of end-users to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice </li></ul>•••
  10. 10. Communication by the Commission <ul><li>Adopted in April 2011 </li></ul><ul><li>Extensive public consultation </li></ul><ul><li>Joint summit organised together with the European Parliament </li></ul>•••
  11. 11. EU Policy Objectives <ul><li>To promote effective competition </li></ul><ul><li>To promote the interests of citizens </li></ul><ul><li>To contribute to the development of the Internal market </li></ul>•••
  12. 12. 1. Promoting competition <ul><li>Access regulation based on the imposition of symmetrical and asymmetrical remedies </li></ul><ul><li>Effective level of competition achieved in retail broadband markets </li></ul>•••
  13. 13. Competition in retail broaband •••
  14. 14. 2. Promoting the interests of citizens <ul><li>Transparency </li></ul><ul><li>Quality of service </li></ul><ul><li>Consumer switching </li></ul>•••
  15. 15. a) Transparency Rules <ul><li>Contracts must include information on any procedures put in place by the provider to measure and shape traffic so as to avoid filling or overfilling of a network link </li></ul><ul><li>NRAs also have powers to ask operators to publish information in a comparable manner </li></ul>•••
  16. 16. b) Minimum Quality of Service <ul><li>In order to prevent the degradation of service and the hindering or slowing down of traffic over networks, NRAs are able to set minimum quality of service requirements </li></ul>•••
  17. 17. Situation in Europe <ul><li>There have been issues in a few Member States with blocking of VoIP providers and throttling of certain bandwidth hungry applications but so far NRAs have been able to tackle such issues </li></ul>•••
  18. 18. Advertised v. Effective Speed <ul><li>Only 66% of EU households perceive that the effective speed of their connection meets the advertised speed (Eurobarometer, March 2011) </li></ul><ul><li>The Commission has launched fieldwork measurement across the EU </li></ul>•••
  19. 19. c) Consumer Switching <ul><li>Contract conditions: right to withdraw </li></ul><ul><li>Number portability in one day </li></ul><ul><li>Operators must offer the possibility to subscribe to a contract with a maximum duration of 12 months. </li></ul>•••
  20. 20. Promoting the Internal Market <ul><li>Heterogeneity in the implementation of EU legislation in the Member States comes at a very high cost for service providers and their customers </li></ul><ul><li>Market fragmentation is a barrier to the exploitation of EU economies of scale </li></ul>•••
  21. 21. Situation in the Member States <ul><li>Proposed legislation in the Netherlands would ban price differentiation according to applications or services used. </li></ul><ul><li>The concerns of consumers and Dutch Parliamentarians are legitimate </li></ul><ul><li>However, this initiative bears the risk of further market fragmentation </li></ul>•••
  22. 22. Follow-up from Communication <ul><li>Commission has asked BEREC to look into these issues in more detail particularly on: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blocking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Throttling of traffic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transparency and quality of service </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Barriers to switching operators </li></ul></ul>•••
  23. 23. Next steps <ul><li>Commission will publish by next year year evidence on any instances of blocking or throttling certain types of services </li></ul><ul><li>Commission will decide on whether additional guidance or more stringent measures are required. </li></ul>•••
  24. 24. Thank you very much for your attention! •••