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Friday, October 30, 2015

EC Statement on Net Neutrality - Oettinger responds to DTelekom boasting

Statement on Net Neutrality - European Commission:

"Although supervisory authorities will not have to approve special services in advance, they will be obliged to carry out the above-mentioned checks, for which they will use specific software and hardware, as well as documents and information they may request from telecommunications companies.

The authorities can and must impose sanctions if companies do not comply with the Regulation.

For internet providers this means that they will only be able to offer special services with consistent quality if they do not diminish the quality and speed of the internet.

If there is insufficient capacity available, they will have to create more capacity or terminate the contract for special services. As a result, start-ups or other users will not actually be ‘forced’ to switch providers because their internet connection has become slower or their capacity has not been increased." 'via Blog this'

Deutsche Telekom chief causes uproar over net neutrality

Deutsche Telekom chief causes uproar over net neutrality | EurActiv: "Höttges' statement on Wednesday (28 October) is a first glimpse of how major telecoms may interpret those services.

He sparked controversy by claiming that specialised services would give a boost to startup businesses. 

“Start-ups need special services more than anyone in order to have a chance of keeping up with large internet providers,” he argued.

“If they want to bring services to market which require guaranteed good transmission quality, it is precisely these companies that need special services. By our reckoning, they would pay a couple of percent for this in the form of revenue-sharing,” Höttges added.

 Simon Schaefer, a private startup investor and founder of Berlin's tech hub Factory, called Höttges' claim “ludicrous”.

“They're creating a toll on anybody that doesn't have the liquidity to finance whatever price they come up with,” Schaefer told EurActiv." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Flashback to 2009 Amendment 166: EParliament 2nd Reading ignores net neutrality

European Parliament ignores net neutrality | Digital Civil Rights in Europe: Not much changes...

Malcolm Harbour: "But the fact remains that any other service limitations which are anti-competitive, and they could certainly include restrictions on access to competitive services like voice over IP, have and can be dealt with by the regulators under the existing framework of competition and access regulation. And that is clear. But what is fundamental is that customer needs to know if there are service limitations and customers may wish to buy a package with service limitations if it is cheaper…There is nothing illegal about service limitations, provided they are not anti-competitive…”

 The initial amendments voted in the first reading by the EP, were back on the European Parliament agenda under the name of Citizens Rights Amendments proposed by Eva-Britt Svensson on behalf of the GUE/NGL Group together with other support from other MEPs.

But besides the amendment that re-instated article 138, all the other citizen rights amendments were rejected by the plenary of the EP. Thus, the Harbour report was adopted and the Trautmann report was rejected." 'via Blog this' Net neutrality escalated so quickly

Google Translate"A commentary by Patrick Beuth: Hardly has the European Parliament decided new network neutrality rules, than Telekom explained the it wants to ask startups to pay at the checkout in future. This has almost slapstick quality.
If it were not so sad, you might certify Timotheus Höttges, the CEO of Telekom, has excellent comic timing. On Tuesday MEPs had voted in the European Parliament majority for a softening of net neutrality. Just one day later Telekom published a Statement of Höttges, in which he pours the worst fears of Internet activists into a business plan." 
'via Blog this'

Telefonica welcomes Regulation to protect the Open Internet & Specialised Services

Telefonica welcomes Regulation to protect the Open Internet and put an end to Roaming charges | Public Policy Blog:

"BEREC has to lay down guidelines for the implementation of the obligations of NRAs in regard of the supervision, enforcement and transparency measures for ensuring an open access to the Internet. They will need to do that keeping in mind that network quality and the possibility to offer innovative services are prerequisites for allowing us to deliver what our customers and other European businesses need to be able to take full advantage of the digitalization of our societies and economies. It is in the interest of Europe, its consumers and companies, that communication and broadband providers across the continent will also in the future be able to be trusted partners for solutions around connected driving, smart cities, e-health and many other services of the Internet of Things. For such future applications, many of which we cannot even imagine yet, network management and service differentiation will be required and the regulation takes the appropriate forward-looking approach to allow for these." 'via Blog this'

Telekom will put a cash till on Internet video/gaming/coms and monetize it from start-ups

Google Translate: \Not shy to shout sbout screwing start-ups?

"Why do we need these special services on the net? The Internet is varied and produces services that no one has ever thought of until recently. This begins with video conferencing and online gaming, and going on telemedicine, the automated traffic control and self-steering cars up to integrated production processes in the industry. Together, these services that they have other, sometimes higher quality requirements than the simple browsing or the e-mail that may arrive a few milliseconds later. A videoconference for example, should not come at peak hours in the network to a halt. Therefore it must be possible that the data-sensitive services in traffic get priority. 

Even today, the quality differentiation in the network has long studied practice. Users can decide for themselves how much service they want and what this service is worth: for example, costs more space for extra-mails, as well as advanced search features at Xing and LinkedIn or videos in HD instead of SD. In future, it will just give the option of booking a service for a few euros more assured quality. Quality differentiation is by no means a revolution in the network, but the natural evolution. 
Teams of specialist services argue small providers could not afford them. The opposite is true: Just start-ups need special services in order to compete with the big Internet providers at all. Google and Co. can afford global server farms, thus bringing the content closer to customers and improve the quality of their services this way. The can not afford to Small. Do they want to bring services to market, in which a good transmission quality must be guaranteed, they just need special services. According to our ideas, they pay for it as part of a revenue sharing of a few percent. That would be a fair contribution for the use of infrastructure. And it makes for more competition in the network.
'via Blog this'

LIRNEasia unconference at Stockholm Internet Forum 2015 on Zero Rating

LIRNEasia unconference at Stockholm Internet Forum 2015 on Zero Rating. » LIRNEasia - a regional ICT policy and regulation think tank active across the Asia Pacific:

"Some said that zero rated content simply creates a ghetto-ized version of the Internet for the poor and therefore should not be allowed.

Others said even a ghetto-ized version of the Internet is better than no Internet.

 Somewhere in the middle were those who said the full and open Internet is to be aspired to, but in the interim ZR is not bad for now.

Yet others were of the opinion that this is a passing business model phenomena which would have evolved anyway by the time the regulators and policy makers get their act together. 

Also in the middle were those who said Zero Rated content is only needed because prices for real Internet access are so high, so we should do something about that." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Competition watchdog clears BT's £12.5bn takeover of EE

Competition watchdog clears BT's £12.5bn takeover of EE:

"John Wooton, chair of the CMA inquiry, said: "We provisionally think that the retail mobile market in the UK, with four main mobile providers and a substantial number of smaller operators, is competitive."

"The group does not provisionally believe that, in a dynamic and evolving sector, it is more likely than not that BT/EE will be able to use its position to damage competition or the interests of consumers."

 The CMA pointed out that EE is a relatively small player in the fixed-line broadband market, while BT is currently a relatively small mobile player." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Dear Mark, I’d like to share a small piece of India’s history: We called it, “License Raj”.

Dear Mark, while you’re in Delhi, I’d like to share a small piece of India’s history: We called it, “License Raj”.: "So here’s my humble appeal: If you want to make the internet free for everyone by all means do it. Do it by paying a small part of their bill. Hell, why not provide 10Mb per month to every subscriber who doesn’t buy an internet pack?

Because let’s face it what else will they do on the internet but log on to Facebook? You already account for 20% of all time spent online globally. If you keep improving your product and create some positive sentiment by essentially being a benevolent creator of access, that share will only go up.

I know it’s seductive to think about going after 100% of the next 2 billion.
But when you do, be sure to remember the License Raj." 'via Blog this'

Oettinger: a significant step towards a digital single market without borders - European Commission

Good news for European citizens a significant step towards a digital single market without borders - European Commission:
"The new regime also improves transparency for consumers: operators will have to inform their subscribers about guaranteed internet speeds and the remedies available if they do not get those speeds.
There will be no "fast lanes": we have banned paid prioritisation and all traffic has to be treated equally. Our rules allow under the strict supervision of national regulators to treat the data traffic other than the access to internet, such as for example data generated by a medical sensor as specialised services provided that the open internet is not negatively affected.
Again under the strict supervision of National Regulators
Commercial agreements and practices, including "zero rating" that circumvent the rules or limit the user choice will not be allowed.  There will not be different classes of internet traffic, as the new rules oblige providers of internet access to treat all traffic in the same way.
Finally, service providers will not be able to slow down traffic any time they like by referring to a threat to network congestion. There are very strict conditions, to block, throttle or take discriminatory actions in order to mitigate the effects of congestion.
Such measures are only permitted if congestion is "exceptional" or "temporary". A provider whose network is continuously or repeatedly congested cannot invoke this exception but has to invest into capacity extension.
The National Regulators will monitor the application of those rules and will have the power to inhibit illicit behaviour and impose sanctions when necessary." 'via Blog this'

Parliament says yes to 'open Internet', no to #netneutrality

Parliament has confirmed the cave-in agreed by Pila de Castillo with governments. This means
[a] ‘open Internet’ (no mention of net neutrality in text) becomes EU law via a directly effective Regulation in a month or so (expect publication in Official Journal just before Christmas)
[c] Zero rating remains a point of obscurity in both the Europe and US – except in Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia where it is currently banned. How those laws interact with the new Regulation will be a bone of contention…
The social democrats and Christian democrats (roughly: Democrats and Republicans) all voted against it with one or two exceptions. Split 438-236 on the specialised services amendment in particular.

Monday, October 26, 2015

ConnectedContinent - the legislative history so far....

EUR-Lex - 52013PC0627 - EN - EUR-Lex: "COM (2013) 627: Proposal for a REGULATION OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL laying down measures concerning the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent, and amending Directives 2002/20/EC, 2002/21/EC and 2002/22/EC and Regulations (EC) No 1211/2009 and (EU) No 531/2012" 'via Blog this'

Digital India: Did Modi get it wrong in Silicon Valley? Zero rating and Facebook

Digital India: Did Modi get it wrong in Silicon Valley? - BBC News: "But then a tech website released what it claimed to be a portion of Facebook's source code, which allegedly "proved" that the "Support Digital India" filter was actually a "Support Internet.Org" filter.

Facebook quickly issued a denial, blaming the text in the code on an "engineer mistake" in choosing a shorthand name he used for part of the code.
But the "mistake" which has been coupled with a huge advertising blitz for Internet.Org across television channels and newspapers has raised suspicion about Facebook's motives.

A Facebook poll on Internet.Org that frequently appears on Indian user timelines has also been ridiculed for not giving users an option to say no.
Instead the answer options to the poll question "Do you want India to have free basic services?" are "Yes" and "Not now"." 'via Blog this'

Friday, October 23, 2015

Free WhatsApp, Skype from Ooredoo; will other GCC operators follow? Rich nation zero rating

Free WhatsApp, Skype from Ooredoo; will other GCC operators follow? - Emirates 24|7:

"Mobile operator Ooredoo Kuwait  hopes providing domestic customers with free mobile data when using apps like WhatsApp and Skype can help it win back market share as part of a revamp of its operations, a senior executive told Reuters.

The company, majority-owned by Qatar's Ooredoo, had long vied with Zain to be Kuwait's No.1 mobile operator, but the 2008 launch of Viva Kuwait, a Saudi Telecom  affiliate, shook the sector.

Viva's aggressive pricing rapidly won customers, while Ooredoo Kuwait was slow to react to market changes and was last to introduce next-generation 4G networks.

"In Kuwait, market penetration is at an all-time high so the key is here how you get your customers to spend more on data," said Hani El-Kukhun, chief operating officer of Ooredoo Kuwait's domestic unit.

But - seemingly counter-intuitively to this strategy - his company in August began offering free access to so-called over-the-top (OTT) players such as WhatsApp, Skype and Viber in many of its packages." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Facebook's WhatsApp Hits 900 Million Users: What Now? Internet.Org

Facebook Inc.'s WhatsApp Hits 900 Million Users: What Now? -- The Motley Fool: "WhatsApp isn't included in the current list of apps for three reasons. First, it doesn't require as much data as Messenger. Second, it's already the top messaging app in several developing markets, including India, where it claimed 70 million users at the end of last year. Lastly, WhatsApp works on a wider variety of phones than Messenger, including connected feature phones, which use slimmed-down versions of popular apps.

 But as expands, Facebook will likely add free versions of WhatsApp and Instagram to that bundle. In exchange, Facebook can access more user data, which it can use for targeted ads on its main site or to determine which services to add to its Messenger platform.

However, Facebook is probably postponing an all-out launch due to persistent criticisms that violates net neutrality rules by giving preferential treatment to zero-rated apps" 'via Blog this'

Quality of Broadband Services in the EU | Digital Agenda for Europe - a year ago but published today

Quality of Broadband Services in the EU | Digital Agenda for Europe:

"October 2014 consumers received 76% of the advertised speed (the same as 2013). Differences were smaller in cable (86.5%) and FTTx (83%) than in DSL (63.3%)." Note from report p13:

"this compares poorly to the USA’s average of 101% of advertised download speed... actual download speeds attained in Europe were considerably higher than those in the USA

  • xDSL services averaged 8.27Mbps in Europe and 7.67Mbps in the US. 
  • Cable services averaged 66.57Mbps in Europe and 25.48Mbps in the US.
  • [FTTx] averaging 53.09Mbps and US achieving 41.35Mbps."

Sadly even if headlines are higher (presumably because generally EU is more urban with shorter local loops) the false advertising continues...and we have far more DSL than the US, which brings our average down. 'via Blog this'

Europe's 'Net Neutrality' Could Allow Torrent and VPN Throttling

Europe's 'Net Neutrality' Could Allow Torrent and VPN Throttling - TorrentFreak: "Barbara van Schewick, Professor of Law and Director of Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, tells us that in its current form the net neutrality regulations pose a significant threat to file-sharing protocols and services.

“This is a real problem for P2P applications. ISPs regularly throttle or otherwise interfere with peer-to-peer file-sharing applications to manage congestion if they are not prevented from doing so by network neutrality rules,” van Schewick says.

“The provisions would allow ISPs to throttle or de-prioritize P2P file-sharing around the clock based on the ‘objective technical requirement’ that P2P file-sharing is not sensitive to delay,” she adds." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Sprint sprints away from no-throttle policy – punishes 'unlimited' network hoggers

Sprint sprints away from no-throttle policy – punishes 'unlimited' network hoggers • The Register: "Sprint has confirmed plans to once again throttle data usage of customers who go over a 23GB limit each month.

 The company, which is the fourth largest mobile carrier in the US with nearly 58 million subscribers on its books, said that it was "unfair" to allow such behaviour to continue unchallenged, given that 97 per cent of its subscriber base did not hog the network's bandwidth.

Sprint recently expressed concerns about punishing download hogs – citing America's new net neutrality rules. In fact, it binned its "network management technique" in June this year, only to U-turn on that decision just yesterday.

 As of now, customers who "occupy an unreasonable share of network resources" will see the service throttled for the remainder of their monthly billing cycle, warned Sprint CTO John Saw." 'via Blog this'

CGI 20 Years Conference on Net Neutrality: Marsden slides

Presentation to CGI 20Years Net Neutrality Marsden: "Noam 1994: Common Carriage • Regretted & predicted end of common carriage • Information service Title I Communications Act 1934 • But the debate is much older… De Sola Pool (1983) Technologies of Freedom? Kingsbury Commitment (1913) AT&T universal service o Gladstone (1844) Railways Act UK • Common carriage is FRAND Fair Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory treatment o permits apples and oranges charges! • Mergers: cable TV and broadband companies • AT&T/MediaOne and AOL/TimeWarner • Lessig and Lemley FCC submission:‘The end of End-to-End’ o(original May 1999, article 2001) • Fear of abuse of freedom of expression So net neutrality debate began in the last millenium 

Council of Europe Human Rights Commission • Mass Media Directorate, Strasbourg, France [1999] Pluralism in the Multi-Channel TV Market: Suggestions for Regulatory Scrutiny • MM-S-PL [99]12 Def2

Monday, October 05, 2015

Competition in telecom markets - European Commission

Competition in telecom markets - European Commission: "The merger would have created the largest mobile network operator in Denmark and would have resulted in a highly concentrated market structure.

If the deal had materialised, there would have been two large mobile operators – the merged entity and the former national monopolist, TDC. Between them, they would have had around 80% of the market. The third, smaller player would have been Hi3G.

The two merging companies already operated a joint network, which offers a network of similarly high quality as the network of the former incumbent TDC.

Of course, this fact is highly relevant in our assessment of mergers, as a high network quality can be achieved without having to sacrifice retail competition.

According to our analysis, the merger would have had anti-competitive unilateral effects across the board from retail private and business customers to wholesale customers and co-ordinated effects at least on certain retail customers." 'via Blog this'

Friday, October 02, 2015

BEREC work on net neutrality in 2016

Consultation open this month, work to be conducted largely in secret:
"BEREC has the task to develop guidelines for the implementation of the obligations of NRAs related to the supervision, enforcement and transparency measures for ensuring an open Internet access. Therefore, BEREC will especially ensure a common approach to net neutrality rules.
In addition to this BEREC will have a close look and get actively involved in the announced revision process of the Universal Service Directive as part of the review of the regulatory framework giving priority to user protection"
Deliverables: Public consultation on draft Guidelines after P2/2016Adoption of Guidelines within 9 months after entry into force (dependent on date of adoption)
It is important that quality monitoring is considered trustworthy among stakeholders, in particular within an evolving policy area as net neutrality, and a harmonised approach broadly supported by regulators could contribute to this. The collaborative functionality proposal would include enhanced features such as cross-border performance measurements and multi-country monitoring data analysis. The common system could also function as a platform for collaboration between regulators and facilitate development and testing of new monitoring methods and measurement tools which can be gradually phased in by individual participating regulators. The 2015 BEREC NN QoS Feasibility study will be the basis for the BoR to take a decision on whether to move forward to specifying an opt-in quality monitoring system (with a separate decision on whether to establish it to be taken in 2017).
Deliverables: Description of the framework for NRAs to collaborate in an opt-in quality monitoring system – P1/2017 (subject to a BoR decision) Overall system requirement specification for the opt-in quality monitoring system – P1/2017 (subject to a BoR decision) BEREC regulatory toolkit for NN QoS assessment – P1/2017

Slovenia and Netherlands formal objection to Council position on net neutrality/zero rating

30 September:
SL: "Slovenia fears that the new arrangements will result in a two-layer Internet: a slow 'best effort' service model and a high-speed Internet with guaranteed quality for an additional charge. Slovenia believes that this is the wrong response to the competitive challenges facing the European industry in the global digital market. Also, given the current legal protection of Internet neutrality in Slovenia, we cannot support the final TSM regulation."
NL: "Effective net neutrality rules also require discriminatory pricing practices to be clearly prohibited. Such a clear ban on price discrimination is unfortunately not included in the final compromise. The Netherlands will therefore be obliged to withdraw this ban from its national net neutrality rules, even though it was applied effectively. The lack of a clear ban on price discrimination has been a fundamental concern for the Netherlands throughout the negotiations. This fundamental concern is expressed by a vote against the Regulation."