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Monday, January 26, 2009

Euro Parliament and AT&T: fixing the net neutrality debate

The lobbyists on behalf of the incumbents are out in force, commissioning studies and building coalitions such as "Net Confidence" (sic). The invaluable Monica Horten (whose PhD may be a blockbuster for policy wonks) reports that AT&T is its guiding light, that Globecon's study is being spotlit, and that the rejected amendments are back as 'compromises' (sic again), placing responsibility on ISPs only to report (self-regulated) restrictions on service:

Recital 14 […] Given the increasing importance of electronic communications for consumers and businesses, users should be fully informed of […] the traffic management policies […] of any relevant restrictions and/or limitations imposed on the use of the electronic communications services by the service and/or network provider with which they conclude the contract. […]. Where there is a lack of effective competition, the relevant national […] authorities should use the remedies available to them in Directive 2002/19/EC to ensure that users' access to particular types of content or applications is not unreasonably restricted.

Article 21( 3).

Member States shall ensure that national regulatory authorities are able to oblige undertakings providing connection to a public electronic communications network and/or electronic communications services to inter alia:

(b) inform subscribers of any change to the provider's traffic management policies […]; restrictions imposed by the undertaking on their ability to access content or run applications and services of their choice.

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