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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Question for IGF net neutrality coalition: Regarding specialised service

Given that Internet traffic continues to grow (even if only 17% YoY in Western Europe according to Cisco), does this make sense?
[1] Internet traffic volumes require continual investment in capacity in order for service NOT to degrade (I accept this can be relatively trivial backhaul upgrades to produce really significant extra capacity but nevertheless..)
[2] Decisions to invest in specialized services are likely to come from free cash flow from existing telco services, including provision of public Internet services (and pension payments, fleet renewal and a million other telco costs)
[3] therefore, the law must NOT write in a zero-sum game, ‘not reduce’... but a positive-sum outcome.
[4] Suggest “Investment in specialized services must be accompanied by further investment in public Internet capacity.”
[5] The language in the law therefore needs to be “provision of specialized services shall only be approved when accompanied by an investment plan to increase public Internet capacity. This shall be audited by the relevant NRA on an annual basis to ensure that the capacity is actually deployed, and that public Internet capacity continues to grow per citizen served by the relevant IAP.”
[6] That last element is essential in order not to penalize subscriber growth – and to ensure that ISPs continue to invest in significantly increased capacity as well as marketing cheap-as-chips DSL service….

I should add that the hike in monthly line rental rates is to me the most transparent possible way to pay for local access speed increases. The £16/€20 monthly fee is far more important than advertised ‘free for the first 6 months’ broadband plans which are deliberately confusing for the 2-year contracted consumer.

Net neutrality or not neutrality? What are specialized service definitions?

Net neutrality or not neutrality? The proposed regulation on a European single market for electronic communications - Lexology: "In an effort to avoid the creation of a two-tier internet (i.e. a high-level quality tier and a degraded quality tier), the EC has included in its proposal a requirement that the provision of specialized services does not impair “in a recurring or continuous manner the general quality of internet access services.” However, such a safeguard appears to be rather loose. At what point is impairment considered to be recurring or continuous? And how is general quality of internet access defined in the first place?
In addition, the EC proposes to entrust to national regulatory authorities (NRAs) the responsibility of monitoring the situation in the various EU Member States and ensuring the continued availability of non-discriminatory internet access services at levels of quality that reflect advances in technology and that are not impaired by specialized services. Provided certain conditions are fulfilled, NRAs will also be empowered to impose minimum quality of service requirements on ISPs." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Leak: Damning analysis of Kroes' attack on net neutrality

Leak: Damning analysis of Kroes' attack on net neutrality | EDRI: "DG Justice harshly criticised Kroes' proposals that would, as we have reported previously, bring about the exact contrary of net neutrality. Above all, DG Justice is concerned about the inevitable restrictions on freedom of communication of European citizens.
To quote from the leaked document: "Furthermore, we consider that such limited possibilities of accessing Internet content and services of their choice would run counter to the stated objectives of Article 38 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, whereby EU policies must ensure a high level of consumer protection".
DG Enterprise is concerned about the effect on European entrepreneurs. Ironically, the opposition from DG Enterprise reflects the concerns that Kroes herself has expressed in the very recent past, before she caved in to pressure from certain sectors of industry." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

EU may have to redraw telecoms plans - EU Commission official

EU may have to redraw telecoms plans - EU Commission official - Yahoo!7 Technology: "critics have said this would threaten what many see as one of the core principles of the Internet - neutrality, the idea that all data should be treated equally, and content providers should not be able to negotiate things like faster speeds for their services at extra costs.
Senior Commission officials met earlier on Monday to discuss Kroes' telecoms proposal which will be debated by the other 27 commissioners in Strasbourg on Tuesday. She will present the package on Wednesday.
"The biggest concern of numerous commissioners is the issue of Net neutrality. Because what Kroes' proposal is doing is restricting and creating exceptions to Net neutrality," the official said. "Eight to nine commissioners have expressed serious doubts. This will be a 'B' point at the college. Everything is up for discussion," the official said. A "B" item means topics are subject to debate before they can be adopted by the Commission." 'via Blog this'

Monday, September 09, 2013

Ofcom's traffic management survey - highlights

Ofcom had a market research company conduct a multi-stage survey of consumers to find out if net neutrality was important to them, though without using the term as Ofcom doesn't like it. In a 63-page report (7.4MB took 2 minutes to download on Virgin LLU on Wifi at 10pm), the term only came up to sum up Ofcom's 2011 statement dismissing net neutrality. They also didn't use the term 'open Internet', the FCC/EC preferred alternative. They only once used the term 'throttled' to illustrate the most invasive possible practices.  Here's the eureka moment at p31: "once the term and processes of traffic management were explained to them 35% of these respondents felt that they may have been affected by these processes". Unsurprisingly (p35) "It was clear that most were not aware of the underlying processes supporting the internet or how it operates." Not exactly shocking. Nor was "consumers state a preference for information being provided in online formats and by 3rd party independent sources" (p37). Pages 60-61 contain the joyous slides to explain what net neutrality is.
This proves the need for neutral consumer champions to find out what ISPs are doing and stop it if it harms their Internet connection - especially when it's blocking or throttling rival applications such as VOIP or media streams. The same of course applies to ISPs routinely providing a slower connection than advertised. Such a champion should be called a 'neutrality regulator' not a traffic manager.
Interesting above all is that this research was carried out at all. It is rather like research on smart metering. If the consumer doesn't know what's going on, they also don't know what's going wrong. Ask the remote workers if it's wrong to throttle Skype during the working day? That might raise a flicker of recognition.

"Brits couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about traffic management" - or know what it is...

Brits couldn’t give a tinker’s cuss about traffic management — Tech News and Analysis: "The results are mixed: only one in 10 people surveyed actually had any idea what traffic management was, but 73 percent of those who did said their ISP was good at conveying its terms transparently. What’s more, once the researchers explained to people what traffic management was, only 6 percent said they would consider it as a factor when deciding on their next ISP contract.
This may have something to do with the fact that people are pretty satisfied with the internet service they’re getting – 81 percent of those surveyed about fixed connections, and 73 percent regarding mobile. Again, the fact that only 29 percent of those surveyed counted connection speed as their top priority suggests to me that people are happy with what they have."
I would draw a further conclusion - because almost no consumers understand what net neutrality is, and even fewer know that 'traffic management' is, it's defaults that will dictate the future of the open Internet (not a bad question to ask consumers if they want their ISP censoring their Internet traffic perhaps?) So it's for government to decide - should traffic management be regulated or not? That depends on whether you want to encourage the next generation of YouTubes, Spotifies and WhatsApp. If you don't, there's no problem. If, like Tim Berners Lee, you do...'via Blog this'

Net neutrality law in Slovenia – unofficial translation of relevant articles

Net neutrality in Slovenia – Blog – wlan slovenija: "Since the beginning of 2013 a new law governing electronic communications is in effect in Slovenia. The most important thing is that it explicitly requires net neutrality. This makes Slovenia one of rare legislations where network neutrality is protected by law. This was a very progressive move by Slovenian government which shows that also small countries can do a big step.
There is currently no official translation into English, so we translated the relevant articles into English. We hope that by that we facilitate similar laws in other countries as well.
[37] Definitions: Net neutrality is a principle that every Internet traffic on a public communication network is dealt with equally, independent of content, applications, services, devices, source and destination of the communication." 'via Blog this'

EU Net Neutrality Laws: Kroes must ignore ETICS/ETNO proposals for sending-party pays on the Internet

Dean Bubley's Disruptive Wireless: EU Net Neutrality Laws: Kroes must ignore ETICS/ETNO proposals for sending-party pays on the Internet: "My view is that prioritised data / managed services are OK as long as:
1) They are kept completely distinct from Internet access (ie are delivered from servers with a direct connection from the telco's infrastructure or elsewhere, not transiting the public Internet)
2) They are not branded as Internet services, or sold in a bundle with Internet Access. This may mean that they also cannot share the top-level brand with an Internet-based content or application source (ie no "YouTube Premium", but something like "GasCo Energy Meter & Control" or "FireCo Sensor & Alarm Service" would be OK). Possibly, this could be done by disallowing such services to use the Internet DNS, or perhaps prohibit them from running within normal Internet browsers, or on apps delivered from Internet App Stores. They need to be ringfenced from the public Internet as far as possible.
3) There is no or limited implicit negative/deprioritising effect on Internet Access concurrently running on the same access/transport connection, arising from the use of managed services by the same customer or their neighbours.
4) There is no attempt to create something that looks like a "termination fee" model for public Internet services. Either the user pays for specific managed services (like IPTV today) or perhaps an upstream content/app provider is allowed to pay (eg an employer paying for home-workers' connection) as long as it is 100% clear that the service is not related to the Internet (see point 2)As Martin Geddes will no doubt point out, point 3 is mathematically and technically very hard/impossible. That, however, is not the EU's problem - it is vendors' and operators' problem if they want to offer such services. I propose that a very simple legal approach is used - managed services should ONLY be sold by telcos on networks which provide Internet Access with guaranteed minimum speeds & maximum latencies, not those marketed with maximum speeds. As long as the customer is guaranteed a decent minimum level of open, best-efforts Internet (howsoever delivered), then the rest of the broadband service is fine to experiment with." 'via Blog this'

EU net neutrality seen in peril from draft law

EU net neutrality seen in peril from draft law - "In a leaked draft of Commissioner Neelie Kroes' proposals for new telecoms rules that are due to be formally presented next week, "net neutrality" was struck out in the one place where it had been mentioned previously. Jérémie Zimmermann, spokesman for  La Quadrature du Net (QdN), said this shows that Kroes has backed down under pressure from telecommunications companies' lobbying.
Most of the 93-page leaked document has been completely re-written from previous drafts and now includes an article stating "any operator shall have the right to provide a European Assured Service Quality (ASQ) connectivity product." "End-users shall be free to agree to enter into agreements on data volumes, and speeds and general quality characteristics with providers of electronic communications," continues article 19. According to Zimmermann, this is the "smoking gun" and ASQ is simply another way of saying traffic prioritization." 'via Blog this'