Net Neutrality:why it mattersDr Chris MarsdenSchool of Law, University of EssexSCRIPT 10th Anniversary,Edinburgh 8 June 2012
Internet and the University of EssexUniversities invented Internet in 1968UK (UCL) early partner of US institutionsThough Norway was first international linkEssex 9th in UK for Research (2001-8 RAE)Top 20 global ‘universities under 50’ With UEA, Sussex etc.A Robbins university founded 1964Wivenhoe just outside ColchesterSignificant interaction with BT Labs (nearby)Notably on computing, telecoms and users
NN as microcosm of European telecoms policy failuresBecause we get it wrong on all these levels:1. We generalize from the particular2. We pretend competition solves the problem3. We pretend to be technologically neutral4. We regulate asymmetrically5. We don’t provide effective protection for consumers6. We don’t protect freedom of expression7. We don’t understand Internet innovation
Competition is not the answer• Standard 1990s answer to 1980s monopoly problem• We are still in some Chicago School fantasy• ‘American problem’ – so why US solution;-)• All ISPs have incentives to block• file-sharing and VOIP• Naked DSL anyone?• Why do we still have voice telephony?
Ofcom: ‘no formal complaints’• BEREC (2010) Response to the• European Commission’s consultation on the open Internet and net neutrality in Europe,• BoR (10)42• Charlie Dunstone, Chairman, TalkTalk:• “We shape traffic to restrict P2P users. I get hate mail at home from people when that means we restrict their ability to play games.”
Ofcom International Conference, Nov 2006“I’ve got 2 people that have saidthey’re going to kill meas a result of not allowingthem to play certain games.From our point of view, it’s not about security, it’sabout trying to figure out what type of traffic it is.”
One size does not fit all• Generalising from the particular• Five MNOs in UK – one of which (3) acts for consumer interest• Swedish mobile cartels• Berlusconi created specific Italian issues• Romania has fibre and 450MHz 4G• UK has no 4G nor any sign of it!
Technological neutrality?• Mobile is not fixed!• Cable is not DSL• Why pretend that we can solve this in a platform-neutral manner• Architecture matters!
Competition as solution• In whose definition?• Third pipe• Or as Martin Cave explained in 2009, 1.5 pipes!• Two competing wholesale fixed networks
Asymmetrical regulation• Fixed incumbent regulated as SMP• But problem is not retailers of that wholesale network• Why don’t we ex ante regulate?• NOT cable monopolist• NOR satellite/ISP combine• Must carry• Due prominence
Consumer law and redress• What’s the problem?• ‘Anecdote’ is not evidence• Nor is ex post an effective remedy• Ofcom in trouble on transparency and switching• Transparency like mobile pricing?• Switching like: let them eat cake?
Prosumer Law• I have made an extended argument for prosumers to be protected• Paper at ECPR Regulation & Governance• Exeter 27 June• Book MIT Press 2013, with Ian Brown
What innovation?• Value chain analysis• Problem – innovation at content-app- services level• Providing fibre is not innovation by ISPs!• So whole basis of policy is flawed• Do telecoms regulators understand the Internet?• Are politicians ignorami?
Citizens’ rights• ‘Internet’ is unrestricted• Restriction is censorship• Ed Vaizey’s nonsense comments• Tim Berners Lee tells the truth• La Rue (UNHRC) and Akdeniz (OSCE)• It’s the right to communicate
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