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Monday, November 16, 2015

FRAND "Not Neutrality" - my remarks at Dynamic Coalition on Net Neutrality

From the transcript:
"CHRIS MARSDEN: I should say it's a tremendous effort Luca put together to have the Dynamic Coalition for three years and put together a book in each of the three years. That's fantastic.  Thank you for that.  
And we go on to zero rating.  It is true to say that zero rating has been down around since the dawn of the consumer Internet and those who remember AOL and British Telecom used to have a content provision company which gave you zero rated content.  It was known as open wound but I think it was known to the rest of the world as open world.  They closed it down pretty quickly.
We have had zero rating for a very long time.  And one of the issues I think the zero rating and Net Neutrality is that even if it is pretty clearly established that Net Neutrality as a principle actually is something which would apply to all ISPs when it comes to zero rating it does become more interesting to look at the role of dominant and less dominant companies and newcomers to the market that offer zero rating is very often being considered and bearing in mind at a early stage talking about regulation, as a company that perhaps would have less fierce zero rating applied to it.  Case in point, the video tron case which is open in Canada, ongoing at the moment, or if are those in the United States, the T Mobile streaming of music which appears to be a rousing less suspicion than it would do if it was a larger company.
So having established and agreeing with Vint that there are different ways in which Net Neutrality is applied in different places.  I think I have a solution which I think works across the board. I share this with Primavera and others and I think it also solves the question people ask, why Chris, are you always so critical of Telecom companies but you aren't really a Net Neutrality guy?  
I think there should be two associated rules and the two associated rules are taking us back to the origins of common carriage.  1. no exclusivity.  So it would not possible for a company together way content provide tore sign up to an exclusive deal that couldn't be offered to other content providers or other companies.  So you wouldn't have pre basics only being offered on an exclusive basis by one mobile operator for instance, in Brazil.  And the second rule is fair reasonable, and nondiscriminatory pricing.  If I wanted, as a mobile carrier, for instance, to carry Wikimedia zero, that's not a great example.  FACEBOOK Zero, then I or Free Basics, I would be offered that as anybody else would be.  The same would apply in reverse.  If was a content provider that wanted access to a platform, it would be at a same price.  
The reason why Lise is frowning is, it is not Net Neutrality.  It's a fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory (FRAND) way of carrying content or the ISP to get access to that content but it isn't Net Neutrality. However, it would, I think, solve most of the problems, particularly with zero rating.  I think also it is very specifically to do with specialized services, which we haven't discussed yet and may discuss later.  But I do accept it is not Net Neutrality as classically foreseen.  
I just make one final point on that, though, which is that we do, it has been said, many definitions.  I think one of the fun things is when you look around the world, particularly the European Union and the United States, we don't use the term Net Neutrality in our laws anyway.  We talk about open Internet.  Who could be opposed to the open Internet?  Send up the one person opposed - there are two people standing up anyway, but it's not their fault! - who are opposed to the open Internet.  But the European regulation very, very specifically avoided the term, Net Neutrality.  Neutrality is used I believe, once in the regulation and of course it is the old sore, which is even more of a cliche in Internet regulation than the open Internet, which is technological neutrality is used.  But Net Neutrality is not used in the regulation.
So I may not be a Net Neutrality guy but it turns out the laws that are supposed to establish Net Neutrality, are also not Net Neutrality laws."

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