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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New 2017 - implementation year?

Happy New Year dear readers - there are suddenly 21,000 of you per month since May, presumably spiked up by the new EU law and BEREC Guidelines consultation. I had worked on the assumption that this was an aide memoire to my net neutrality academic work, notably the new book, but perhaps some more general readers are dipping in. If so, welcome!
2017 will be a highly dynamic year - implementing that new law in all 28 Member States (even reluctant Brexiter UK) and EEA members, dealing with zero rating in many developing nations, handling whatever Trump team arrives at the FCC...exciting times, as the Chinese allegedly say...

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

T-Mobile must end zero-rated music offer in Netherlands - Mobile World Live

T-Mobile must end zero-rated music offer in Netherlands - Mobile World Live: "Dutch Consumer and Markets (ACM) regulator said shortly afterwards it would investigate the policy, following a new bill passed in the Dutch Senate forbidding zero-rating.

 Two months on, the ACM has now threatened the operator with fines of €50,000 per day, up to a maximum of €500,000, if it does not withdraw the offer within 20 days of the ruling.

 In a statement, T-Mobile said “the decision comes as no surprise” but confirmed it planned to appeal.

The operator argues that the zero-rated offer does not contravene Europe-wide net neutrality regulation, which it says should apply directly rather than a Dutch intermediary law.

“T-Mobile continues to believe that there is no question of violation because zero-rating is permitted according to EU rules under certain conditions,” it added." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Net Neutrality Rule to Get Scrutiny From FCC Republicans ‘Soon’ - Bloomberg

Net Neutrality Rule to Get Scrutiny From FCC Republicans ‘Soon’ - Bloomberg: "Pai and O’Rielly will form the FCC’s two-member majority when Trump assumes office because the agency will have three members -- two short of full strength.

New members will be nominated by Trump and confirmed by the Senate, a process that typically takes months.

Both Republicans have been staunch opponents of the net neutrality rule.

In a speech Dec. 7, Pai said that he was unsure whether the rule would be vacated by a court, reversed by Congress, or overturned by the FCC. He said he was sure the rule’s days are numbered." 'via Blog this'

Friday, December 09, 2016

Fox to buy Sky: reminder editor Colin Myler lawyer Tom Crone found in contempt of Parliament

Former News of the World editor Colin Myler and lawyer Tom Crone found in contempt of Parliament for misleading phone-hacking evidence – Press Gazette: "Today’s report notes that in a letter relating to that appeal of March 2007, Goodman said his sacking was “perverse because his actions were ‘carried out with the full knowledge and support’ of Andy Coulson and Neil Wallis, with payments arranged by Stuart Kuttner.

“He stated that Ian Edmondson and other staff were carrying out the same illegal procedures, and that the practice was widely discussed at the daily editorial conference until explicit reference was banned by the editor.”

 The Committee of Privileges report says: “We have concluded that it is significantly more likely than not to be true that Tom Crone misled the CMS Committee in 2009 by giving a counter-impression of the significance of confidentiality in the Gordon Taylor settlement."

'via Blog this'

Thursday, December 08, 2016

Hungary bans largest mobile operator from zero rating its own video - 1 Dec. report.

Google Translate article 1/12/2016: "National Media and Communications Authority applied at EU level among the first EU on network neutrality regulations when ordered Magyar Telekom to ensure interference-free Internet service, terminate the offending traffic management measures. The Authority examined the terms of the GO TV service since stated that the distinction between TV provider and HBO GO GO access to services compared to all other Internet traffic and applications, despite the provisions of the European Union for network neutrality."
"The NMIAH rules on network neutrality enforcement [meant it] investigated Magyar Telekom's mobile subscription available "unlimited TV and Film" monthly fee option, within the context of TV GO and HBO GO service. The  investigation was closed November 21 [and] found that the provider of the content concerned unlawfully distinguished over all other Internet traffic and applications, and their use had not counted all your subscription data traffic."

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

MNOs Telia & 3 forced to treat internet traffic equally: draft decision from PTS

"PTS is now publishing a draft decision, communicating PTS’ intention to issue an injunction on Telia to treat all traffic equally once the data volume, in accordance with the subscription for the internet access as such, has been consumed., In a similar case regarding HI3G’s (3) offer ”Free surf for music streaming”, 3 has now informed PTS that 3 will change their offer going forward, in order not to violate the regulation. PTS is positive to 3’s ambition to adjust its offer in order to comply with the regulation and will closely follow this development in order to ensure that the necessary changes are implemented." Final comments from Telia allowed until 4 January. 'via Blog this'

Thursday, December 01, 2016

A Decade Ago: EC Proposals for Video Regulation - Ofcom

Assessing Indirect Impacts of the EC Proposals for Video Regulation - Ofcom:

"Ofcom is today publishing an independent study conducted by RAND Europe, which looks at the potential indirect impact of the European Commission’s proposed Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive." The first EU regulatory whisperings of discrimination in video distribution by IAPs... 'via Blog this'

Predictions 2017

Predictions 2017: "If Brexit does happen then an exit from the Internal Market would be disastrous for inward and outward investors. Remember that it was BT and Vodafone who first broke into other EU markets in the late 1990s, dominating Irish telecoms amongst others. Vodafone’s extraordinary hostile takeover of Mannesman caused shockwaves throughout German corporate governance. Yes, UK telecoms has become more domestically focussed with BT’s failed expansions and the recent (2015-16) mergers leaving two UK-owned mobile companies and O2 for sale. Virgin Media has announced Brexit will mean less investment into the UK.

 On net neutrality, it was the Brits (through Ofcom) and Norwegians who wrote the recent BEREC Guidelines on implementation. Ofcom cannot remain a member or even observer of BEFEC/ERG if we leave the Internal Market, whatever the Ofcom CEO may hope. Can we even follow the rules we wrote?" 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Net neutrality violations ceased after AKVorrat intervention – data volumes increased up to 17-fold | AKVorrat

Net neutrality violations ceased after AKVorrat intervention – data volumes increased up to 17-fold | AKVorrat: "On 5 October, AKVorrat filed a complaint against mobile operator Hutchison Drei based on Drei's violations of net neutrality principles. Now the operator has given in and stopped the offending practice. At the same time, Drei has more than quadrupled data volumes included in its data plans, and in some cases has even increased them 17-fold. This shows that net neutrality is beneficial to service operators as well as customers, even though the telecoms industry would rather ignore the new net neutrality provisions in EU law." 'via Blog this'

AT&T Just Showed Us What The Death Of Net Neutrality Is Going To Look Like | Techdirt

AT&T Just Showed Us What The Death Of Net Neutrality Is Going To Look Like | Techdirt: "This is precisely the sort of "new normal" AT&T has spent the last decade trying to build, and exactly the sort of future net neutrality rules were supposed to help us avoid. And while the current Wheeler-led FCC recently finally acknowledged that it now understands this sort of behavior is anti-competitive, it's too little, too late.

There's every indication that Trump's new FCC intends to not only gut net neutrality, but the FCC entirely. Trump's telecom transition team is filled to the brim with telecom-sector cronies who can't even admit telecom monopolies are real. Large ISP executives and investors are thrilled.

 With no (or unenforced) net neutrality rules and a toothless FCC, you can expect all of the incumbent broadband ISPs to follow AT&T's lead, while folks like Trump telecom advisor Jeffrey Eisenach regurgitate telecom sector think tank pieces trying to claim that zero rating is a huge boon to consumers." 'via Blog this'

BT ordered to split legally from Openreach by Ofcom - BBC News

BT ordered to split legally from Openreach by Ofcom - BBC News: "On Monday, BT had appointed Mike McTighe - who was on the board of Ofcom between 2007 and 2015 - as the first chairman of Openreach.
BT said in a statement: "We put forward proposals in July that we believe are fair and sustainable, and that meet Ofcom's objectives without disproportionate costs.

"We are implementing these proposals, and have just appointed Mike McTighe to be the first chairman of Openreach. We are in discussions with Ofcom on two outstanding issues, the reporting line of the Openreach chief executive and the form of legal incorporation.

"We will continue to work with Ofcom to reach a voluntary settlement that is good for customers, shareholders, employees, pensioners and investment in the UK's digital future."

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said Openreach "needs to offer genuinely fair and equal access to the country's telecoms infrastructure to BT's competitors" and that it supported Ofcom action to achieve this." 'via Blog this'

Monday, November 28, 2016

National regulators transforming into “Net Neutrality watchdogs”

National regulators transforming into “Net Neutrality watchdogs”: "“National regulators shall monitor and enforce compliance with the Net Neutrality rules’ stressed the incoming BEREC Chair Sebastien Soriano at the Third World Internet Conference (WIC) held in Wuzhen, China from Nov 16 to 18, 2016.  

In his presentation Mr Soriano introduced with the adoption of the Net Neutrality rules in Europe, the challenges ahead and BEREC role in implementing the rules. He also emphasized, that Europe secured the openness of the Internet environment at the network level, but the risk is now that bottlenecks appear at other levels of the digital value chain. The European institutions should analyse the impact of other markets on the openness of the Internet environment." 'via Blog this'

Friday, November 25, 2016

European Net Neutrality, at last? My article with Luca in Computers & Law

European Net Neutrality, at last?: "BEREC organised a six-week public consultation on the draft Guidelines that stimulated a record 481,547 contributions, mostly supporting strong net neutrality protections. Meanwhile, major EU operators, such as Deutsche Telekom, BT Group and Orange issued a 5G Manifesto, threatening not to invest in next-generation 5G mobile networks unless the proposed net neutrality guidelines had been mitigated.

 The BEREC Guidelines, hailed as a significant victory for net neutrality advocates, have finally provided clear interpretation of the Regulation with regard to traffic management practices, specialised services, transparency with regard to Internet access quality and 'commercial practices' such as zero rating." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Mystic Marsden casts his eye over 2017

There's a new definitive book on European net neutrality law and policy of course - but here's the unexpurgated version of my predictions:
Telecoms law is a European law field with limited national specialisation. The entirety of 2017 is therefore dominated by consideration of Brexit. Like many lawyers and 48.1% of voters, I consider Brexit a long slow lingering English suicide, and still hope it can somehow be proved that Article 50 is the EU’s version of Hotel California: you can check out but you can never leave.
In spring I predicted to all and sundry in Brussels that Brexit would be voted for, Cameron would be gone in no time, May would take over as PM,  and that she would call a snap General Election in spring 2017 to get a mandate for not leaving. The first three have happened….but the fourth still looks unlikely as the Boundary Commission will not report until autumn 2018, almost guaranteeing a Conservative government. Theresa May left us her legacy as Home Secretary by refusing to allow freedom to the information  in Orgreave policing, while passing the extraordinarily intrusive Investigatory Powers Act 2016. Soft Brexit hopes are diminished.
If Brexit does happen despite my earlier predictions, then an exit from the Internal Market would be disastrous for inward and outward investors. Remember that it was BT and Vodafone who first broke into other EU markets in the late 1990s, dominating Irish telecoms amongst others. Vodafone’s extraordinary hostile takeover of Mannesman caused shockwaves throughout German corporate governance. Yes, UK telecoms has become more domestically focussed with BT’s failed expansions and the recent (2015-16) mergers leaving 2 UK-owned mobile companies and O2 for sale. Virgin Media has announced Brexit will mean less investment into the UK.
On net neutrality, it was the Brits (through Ofcom) and Norwegians who wrote the recent BEREC Guidelines on implementation. Ofcom cannot remain a member or even observer of BEFEC/ERG if we leave the Internal Market, whateverthe Ofcom CEO may hope. Can we even follow the rules we wrote?
Britannia May therefore waive the rules of Brexit, but must follow the Digital Single Market whether in, soft out or entirely David Davies. A long cold winter will wipe out the Brexit majority even if no-one had changed their minds since June 24, with $1.5trillion (about the same in € or £ these days) wiped off national wealth. From what our esteemed Foreign Secretary called a “membership fee seems rather small for all that access” in our opt-out bespoke EU membership in his unpublished February article, we may by 2018 be looking at the imminence of the worst of both worlds: no fee for no access or a high fee for limited access.
As for a Trump America with or without a Farage ambassadorship, expect a divergence from global rules for regulating telecoms and net neutrality, with a return to US exceptionalism in permitting concentration in access markets and discrimination in terms of trade for content providers, ending the open Internet after a 25 year regulated commercial experiment.
Will no-one except The Donald (sick) think of the future of our children?

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Finalisation of Net Neutrality Policy in India - maybe next year....

Finalisation of Net Neutrality Policy: "TRAI has released pre-consultation paper on Net Neutrality on 30.05.2016 & is in process of preparing a Consultation Paper on Net Neutrality based on the inputs received in response to the Pre-Consultation Paper on Net Neutrality. 

 Government has not received input from Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) on the timeline of submission of its recommendation on the consultation paper “Regulatory Framework for Over the Top Service”.

However, Government has asked TRAI to provide its recommendations on net neutrality and other related issues for its policy formulation." 'via Blog this'

Trump Names Two Opponents of Net Neutrality to Oversee FCC Transition Team

Trump Names Two Opponents of Net Neutrality to Oversee FCC Transition Team: "Mark Jamison, the other newly appointed adviser, also has a long history of battling against net neutrality oversight. Jamison formerly worked on Sprint’s lobbying team and now leads the University of Florida’s Public Utility Research Center.

Both Eisenach and Jamison are considered leading adversaries of net neutrality who worked hard to prevent the rules from being passed last year." 'via Blog this'

Euro regulator taps slackademics for neutrality advice - for back cover of my book

Euro regulator taps slackademics for neutrality advice • The Register: "Two of Berec’s chosen Four Wise Counsels (pdf) are activist lawyers: Barbara van Schewick of Stanford law school (which received a $2m donation from Google), and media professor Chris Marsden at Sussex University and a veteran campaigner for pre-emptive regulation have been appointed. Another is a techie who formerly advised a Google-funded group.

Both professors, Van Schewick and Marsden, have been criticised for proposing an abstract metaphorical representation of the internet, as their basis for regulation, which ignores the technical nitty-gritty of managing a stochastic scarce resource." 'via Blog this'

Friday, November 18, 2016

Trump, GOP Prepare To Gut FCC Boss Tom Wheeler's Populist Reforms...Under The False Banner Of Populist Reform | Techdirt

Trump, GOP Prepare To Gut FCC Boss Tom Wheeler's Populist Reforms...Under The False Banner Of Populist Reform | Techdirt: "What happens next isn't entirely clear, but early signs aren't promising if you prefer your regulators independent and with a dash of backbone. Trump's telecom transition team is being led by Jeffrey Eisenach, a think tanker with direct ties to telecom (yet not technically a "lobbyist") who has vehemently opposed nearly every pro-consumer policy the agency has ever implemented.

Also on Trump's advisory team is Senator Marsha Blackburn, whose faithful support of AT&T and protectionist state laws has played a starring role in ensuring that her state of Tennessee remains a broadband backwater.

Trump has said he opposes net neutrality (even if it's not clear he actually understands what it is), suggesting those rules will either be scrapped -- or simply not enforced.

Eisenach has similarly made it abundantly clear he sees the FCC's future as one in which its influence over broadband is negligible to non-existent, and net neutrality is no longer the law of the land. In an editorial written over at The Hill in 2010, Eisenach blasted net neutrality as a "radical scheme" crafted (ironically) by bogus populists" 'via Blog this'

Too Little Too Late: FCC Finally Realizes AT&T's Zero Rating Is Anti-Competitive - Techdirt

Too Little Too Late: FCC Finally Realizes AT&T's Zero Rating Is Anti-Competitive | Techdirt: "And while it's great the FCC finally woke up to the fact that ISPs are using caps to both raise rates on uncompetitive markets and hamstring streaming competitors, the FCC's letter is almost comical in how late in the game it has finally arrived.

Given that the man heading up Trump's telecom transition team (Jeffrey Eisenach) is a paid consultant and think tanker with ties to large broadband providers, there's every indication a Trump Presidency will go easier on incumbent ISPs like AT&T and Comcast than ever before.

 As a result, the FCC's move here should generally be seen as the agency giving a pointless lecture on playing with matches after the barn has burned down.

For what it's worth, AT&T is simply responding to the inquiry by claiming it can't possibly be acting anti-competitively because other companies can get cap-exempt status too -- provided they pay AT&T significantly more money" 'via Blog this'

Friday, November 11, 2016

Wheeler's FCC agenda hits the wall in December: Steve Blum

Wheeler's FCC agenda hits the wall in December: "The Federal Communications Commission will look a lot different come January, as chairman Tom Wheeler either resigns or is shoved aside. With a republican president set to take office, the priority will be to clear enough seats on the five member commission to give the new administration a three-vote majority.

 Democrat Jessica Rosenworcel will be out of a job at the end of year, unless the republican-led senate votes to confirm her. Rosenworcel was renominated by president Obama, but senate republicans have delayed a confirmation vote, reportedly because Wheeler hasn’t agreed to resign.

Both Wheeler and fellow democrat Mignon Clyburn can stay on the commission through 2019, and giving Rosenworcel a new five year term would lock in a democratic majority for the next three years. Republicans are not going to let that happen." 'via Blog this'

Think Tank Scholar or Corporate Consultant? It Depends on the Day: NY Times

Think Tank Scholar or Corporate Consultant? It Depends on the Day - The New York Times: " Over the many months that officials in Washington debated sweeping new regulations for internet providers, Jeffrey A. Eisenach, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, was hard to miss.

He wrote op-ed articles, including for The New York Times, that were critical of the rules. He filed formal comments with the Federal Communications Commission, where he also met privately with senior lawyers.

He appeared before Congress and issued reports detailing how destructive the new rules would be.

“Net neutrality would not improve consumer welfare or protect the public interest,” Mr. Eisenach testified in September 2014 before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

 Intense advocacy by a think tank scholar is not notable in itself, but Mr. Eisenach, 58, a former aide at the Federal Trade Commission, has held another job: as a paid consultant for Verizon and its trade association." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

TeleFrieden: A Nuanced Analysis of Zero Rating

TeleFrieden: A Nuanced Analysis of Zero Rating: "Zero rating offers access opportunities to individuals who want broadband access, but lack sufficient discretionary income.  A subsidy provides an opportunity to test the waters and to decide whether to change spending priorities.  In developing countries, penetration rates continue to rise to near that of developed countries, because even poor people want and will pay for access.


Zero rating also provides a new incentive for people with sufficient funds who do not see the value proposition in ascending a steep learning curve toward digital literacy, plus making even a small financial commitment in buying a smartphone and subscribing to a monthly data plan.  Surely these people are not condemned to a lifetime of inferior access, because they might opt to pay for access to the entire Internet cloud.


Lastly, we should consider the consequences if the FCC—or any regulatory agency—rules against a subsidy arrangement that consumers like.  Does the FCC really want to invoke fairness when doing so prevents consumers from “free” access to certain video streams?


I provide a deep dive on zero rating in a paper available." 'via Blog this'

CRTC should update ISP rules on differential pricing - Geist in Globe and Mail

CRTC should update ISP rules on differential pricing - The Globe and Mail: "In searching for a policy that encourages ISP innovation that does not rely on leveraging the potential gatekeeper function, the commission should consider a default rule prohibiting differential pricing subject to two exceptions.

First, consistent with net-neutrality principles, neutral differential pricing that does not distinguish between similar content or applications should be permitted. Examples of neutral differential pricing include differing prices based on the time of day (e.g., cheaper late-night access) or differing speeds provided that ISPs do not target specific content or application providers.

 Second, there should be a public-interest exception that would allow providers to exempt data charges for emergency services or customer-service calls. The CRTC could develop a policy for expanding the list of permitted public-interest exceptions.

 Updating the rules to address the emergence of differential pricing and zero rating is essential since the original net-neutrality policy was developed with different concerns in mind. With the Canadian market particularly susceptible to misuse, the CRTC should be guided by its long-standing principle that telecom regulation should restrict the ability of ISPs to determine winners and losers through their power as the Internet’s gatekeepers." 'via Blog this'

What The Election Means For Stuff Techdirt Cares About? Net Neutrality's Dead: Techdirt

What The Election Means For Stuff Techdirt Cares About? | Techdirt:

"Mass Surveillance: Again, an issue where both candidates were terrible, and both seemed eager to expand mass surveillance and ignore the 4th Amendment. But again, Trump seems to care even less about the possible ramifications of this -- and has even suggested that he'd like to use the power to go after his personal enemies, rather than the enemies of the country. And, outside of the Presidential election, the 4th Amendment took a huge blow in two key Senate races as well. Senate Intelligence Committee head Richard Burr, who doesn't seem to care in the slightest about the 4th Amendment, beat his opponent, who used to run the North Carolina ACLU (an organization that cares deeply about the 4th Amendment). Burr's victory was likely, but the polls (ha!) were at least close. Up in Wisconsin, however, basically everyone was predicting a return to the Senate for Russ Feingold, the only Senator who voted against the PATRIOT Act and a strong supporter of civil liberties. But in an upset, he lost to incumbent Ron Johnson.

Encryption: I don't believe Trump weighed in specifically on the whole "going dark" debate, but given his comments on mass surveillance and supporting law enforcement over all else, I'm guessing that the chances of a bill banning encryption just got a hell of a lot stronger. Download some strong encryption software now and learn how to use it, folks.

Internet Governance/Net Neutrality: It's just bad. Trump supported a ridiculously dangerous plan based on near total confusion about how the internet works. And I'm guessing this will present a big opportunity for Congress to gut net neutrality as well. Enjoy more power for AT&T and Comcast, folks." 'via Blog this'

Friday, November 04, 2016

The CRTC's Differential Pricing Hearing: ISPs Should Not Be Picking the Internet's Winners and Losers - Michael Geist

The CRTC's Differential Pricing Hearing: ISPs Should Not Be Picking the Internet's Winners and Losers - Michael Geist: "How can the CRTC craft a policy that maintains the principles of net neutrality but avoids heavy-handed regulation?  In searching for a policy that encourages ISP innovation that does not rely on leveraging the potential gatekeeper function, the commission should consider a default rule prohibiting differential pricing subject to two exceptions. Read the full column that examines the solutions that are non-starters and the details on a differential pricing policy." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

CRTC to review differential pricing practices on Internet service -Globe and Mail

CRTC to review differential pricing practices on Internet service - The Globe and Mail: "In contrast to Videotron, Rogers has taken a different approach to streaming music that does not involve data exemptions; it includes subscriptions to the premium version of Spotify (which allows users to play any song at any time and has no advertising) for customers of certain high-end wireless plans. Rogers executives have said they want to encourage customers to use more data.

 The Competition Bureau filed an intervention in June arguing some types of differential pricing should be banned – including instances where the application favoured by exemption from data charges pays the telecom provider or where the content is affiliated with the provider.

Zero-rating has become controversial in jurisdictions across the world, including the United States, where T-Mobile’s Binge On video streaming service is facing scrutiny by the Federal Communications Commission. Facebook Inc.’s Free Basics service – which offers access to a limited number of Internet apps with no charge for the data access – was banned in India for breaching net neutrality.

Facebook representatives are scheduled to appear at the CRTC hearing on Tuesday to offer a defence of zero-rating offers.

The Equitable Internet Coalition is also expected to appear on Tuesday, as is BCE. Rogers will appear Wednesday, OpenMedia and Telus on Thursday and Videotron and the Competition Bureau on Friday." 'via Blog this'

Arcep begins the work of enforcing European regulation on open internet access, and publishes a French version of the BEREC guidelines

Arcep begins the work of enforcing European regulation on open internet access, and publishes a French version of the BEREC guidelines: "operators will be sent a questionnaire whose purpose is to obtain a detailed snapshot of practices in the marketplace. It is also meant to bring operators to question the relevance and justification of their practices with respect to the new regulation.

This first diagnostic tool will later be completed by other mechanisms, notably those to emerge from the call for crowdsourcing partnerships that Arcep issued in June, and from the consumer complaint platform that Arcep will be opening in 2017, in keeping with its strategic review roadmap.

The task of monitoring the compliance of operators’ practices will not be a solitary one. Plans are already in place for national regulatory authorities’ reports and analyses to be shared at the European level, to ensure that the open internet access regulation is enforced consistently. A series of meetings has already begun to guarantee smooth and open communication within BEREC – of which France will be the Chair in 2017 – and to develop common supervision tools. " 'via Blog this'

Monday, October 31, 2016

Netflix CEO: Net Neutrality Key to AT&T-Time Warner Merger | Variety

Netflix CEO: Net Neutrality Key to AT&T-Time Warner Merger | Variety: "Hastings cautioned that the deal is still very new, and that not all the implications are clear yet. But he also argued that it’s all about preserving an equal playing field. “As long as HBO’s bits and Netflix’s bits are treated the same, that would be a starting point,” he said. “The key thing is with us net neutrality.”

 Netflix has in the past been a vocal opponent of some big media and telco mergers, notably opposing the proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable by Comcast; however, the company subsequently spoke out in support of Charter’s acquisition of Time Warner Cable." 'via Blog this'

T-Mobile agrees to pay FCC $48m over misleading data plans: Endgadget 19.10.2016

T-Mobile agrees to pay FCC $48m over misleading data plans: "The main bone of contention centered around T-Mobile's "top three percent" condition, where those who were on unlimited plans and in the top three percent of data usage would get throttled at times of high congestion. That throttling would take place even if they were on a plan that said they could use as much data as they wish.

 Of that $48 million fine, only $7.5m million is in actual cash. T-Mobile will additionally pay out $35.5 million in a "consumer benefit" program that consists of a 20 percent off discount for any accessory as well as 4GB of additional data if they have a "mobile internet line" -- presumably that's what you have for tablets or hotspots, although T-Mobile isn't super clear on that point.

T-Mobile says it'll also start using the FCC's "consumer broadband label" -- a chart showing exactly how much plans cost and what to expect in terms of speed." 'via Blog this'

European Net Neutrality – Regulation and guidelines - Nkom

European Net Neutrality – Regulation and guidelines - Nkom: "The European net neutrality rules provide a solid basis for regulation of net neutrality the next years. However, due to the novelty of the rules, there will most probably be challenging questions to resolve. With a view to preserve the value of the Internet for upcoming generations, it is important to continue the work to maintain the net as an open and non-discriminatory platform for everyone.

 The current high-profile net neutrality question about zero-rating has not achieved a clear answer under the European net neutrality Regulation. However, a general assessment methodology is provided, with a possibility for national regulators to intervene if necessary.

Over time the development of the market under this regulatory regime will gather experiences that can be used to feed into any future legislative processes." 'via Blog this'

Salvaging Google Fiber's Achievements | diffraction analysis

Salvaging Google Fiber's Achievements | diffraction analysis: "Google’s acquisition of Webpass however is interesting. Few journalists took the time to try and understand what Webpass does. Webpass uses wireless solutions for urban aggregation, not access. In other words, it doesn’t connect homes wirelessly, it connects multi-tenant buildings wirelessly and uses existing in-building wiring to connect the homes from the rooftop antenna.

 It’s a clever approach that solves two fundamental deployment issues:
– it eliminates the need to pull fiber along street poles or bury ducts in the pavement to pull fiber along the streets. This is both costly and time consuming;
– it eliminates the need to deploy fiber inside the homes, also expensive and time-consuming, by reusing the existing wiring.

 However, that approach does not seem to me to be so universal as to be usable in any deployment scenario. There are a number of potential issues that I see with it:

first, you need to target multi-tenant buildings to make the economics work. I suspect (again, not knowing the exact costs of their solution) that the equipment necessary to install this on single homes would make the price point too high. Furthermore, you need line of sight between rooftops which is comparatively easy when people live in high downtown MDUs, not so easy when they live in detached homes.
second, you need to be able to reuse the existing cabling in the house.

I haven’t had time to look into the specific regulatory aspects of this (and particularly to see if this varies from state to state or county to county in the US) but my bet is you can’t always bank on being able to reuse the cabling, especially if it’s been deployed by an incumbent or a cable operator. I may be wrong here, and I will be doing my homework on this, but I’m flagging it as a risk.

This doesn’t mean that Webpass doesn’t open up opportunities. I don’t think you’d get as good and stable a service as you’d get with FTTH but you might get a service that’s good enough for most customers’ needs.

Would it be good enough to compete with AT&T’s FTTC ? Most likely. Good enough to compete with Cable’s Docsis 3.1 as it gets deployed ? Less likely." 'via Blog this'

Broadband advert rule changes come into effect - 15 years too late

Broadband advert rule changes come into effect - BBC News: "To comply with the new rules, broadband providers will now have to:
Show all-inclusive, upfront and monthly costs, with no separating out of line rental prices
Give greater prominence to the contract length and any post-discount pricing
Give greater prominence to upfront costs
Digital and Culture Minister Matt Hancock welcomed the ASA's move." 'via Blog this'

Friday, October 28, 2016

Luca Belli: Net neutrality, zero rating and the Minitelisation of the internet

Net neutrality, zero rating and the Minitelisation of the internet: Journal of Cyber Policy: Vol 0, No 0: "This paper starts by exploring the NN debate, stressing that the NN rationale is to preserve an open and decentralised internet architecture, empowering end-users and protecting their rights. Subsequently, it argues that the combination of reduced data caps and zero-rating (ZR) schemes may create artificial scarcity, raise the price of the open internet and jeopardise the achievement of the NN rationale. It provides a taxonomy of ZR models and emphasises that several ZR practices might impose on the internet a centralised configuration that characterises less innovative networks, such as the Minitel. The phenomenon that I define as ‘Minitelisation’ of the internet consists of the shift from a user-centric, general-purpose network to one with predefined purposes, thereby creating passive consumers of predetermined services, rather than active internet users." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Blocking VoIP in the MENA region: the worst net neutrality violations of all

Blocking VoIP in the MENA region: "From Morocco to Jordan, governments throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have blocked access to voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services, such as Skype, WhatsApp calling, and others.

VoIP blocking often occurs to protect the profits of the incumbent telecom operators, many of which have a monopoly and are at least partially owned by the government. 

Recently, a member of the Internet governance community asked iGmena if there was a resource that tracked and mapped where VoIP is blocked in the MENA region. After searching for such a resource and coming up empty handed, we decided to make our own such resource based on our previous research (e.g., see here and here), and upload it to our website. We officially unveiled the map at iGmena Summit 2016, but now we are very excited to post it here as well." 'via Blog this'

Friday, October 14, 2016

Hungary regulator to investigate zero rating in 2017

The NMIAH may bring such an investigation is based on requests from subscribers, but may on its own initiative, ex officio, or some kind of announcement, also in light of new information. If it finds unlawful business practices, it may prohibit the continuation and may oblige service providers to restore the lawful status. In addition, it imposes a fine of not only the provider, but also personally against its executive officers or require service providers to publish the decision on this point. "Severe cases may be suspended or even prohibit the provision of services in the service entitlements".

Dutch pass strict net neutrality law, T-Mobile plans appeal - Telecompaper

Dutch pass strict net neutrality law, T-Mobile plans appeal - Telecompaper: "The Dutch Senate has approved legislation implementing the EU regulation on net neutrality and the end to roaming surcharges. The legislation amending the Telecommunications Act was already approved by the lower house of parliament in May and will take effect after its publication in the official journal.

The law has already raised opposition, as T-Mobile said it plans a court appeal and industry association GSMA said the Dutch law goes "far beyond the intent of the EU Regulation".  

 Dutch law already incorporated the principle of net neutrality under changes to the Telecom Act passed in 2012. This included a stricter stance than the EU regulation on various issues, notably a ban on price discrimination. Also known as zero rating, this is where ISPs allow customers free access to certain applications without charging for data traffic. " 'via Blog this'

Friday, October 07, 2016

Comcast Expands 1 TB/month Data Caps To Another 23 Markets; Consumeris

Comcast Expands Data Caps To Another 23 Markets Starting Nov. 1 – Consumerist: "The caps (they gave up on “thresholds“) have been slowly spreading across new cities for years, and in a a blog post today, Comcast confirmed that it’s bringing “data plans” (read as: broadband service limits) to “many markets” nationwide.

Users who go over the limit of 1 TB of data used in a billing cycle will get a stern warning. Customers get two “courtesy months” in a year without being billed for overage. After that, it’s overage charges, much like a traditional wireless plan. Your service won’t be cut off or throttled; you’ll just suddenly see extra charges on your next bill." I dream of 1TB/month 'via Blog this'

BEREC Work Programme: net neutrality 2017

"BEREC will monitor the implementation of the net neutrality provisions of Regulation 2015/2010 in the context of BEREC Guidelines. BEREC will receive answers to a BEREC internal questionnaire (to be sent out in early 2017) as well as the first set of annual reports to be provided by NRAs by the end of June 2017 on the implementation of net neutrality rules. This will be used to produce a report describing and analysing how NRAs have implemented the rules and issues which arose. Starting in early 2017 and continuing throughout the year, BEREC will also provide a forum for NRAs to exchange views and experiences on the implementation of the Regulation. Based on this work, BEREC will identify best practices or preferred approaches to reporting, and will consider if it is necessary to encourage common reporting approaches and methodologies."
BEREC Internal report summarising annual reports by NRAs on the implementation of the net neutrality provisions of Regulation 2015/2120 and associated BEREC guidelines: Discussion and orientation in P3/2017
BEREC Report on the implementation of Regulation 2015/2120 and related BEREC guidelines, including possible recommendations: Adoption for publication in P4/2017
BEREC regulatory toolkit for QoS assessment for the implementation of articles 4-5 of the Regulation 2015/2120: Adoption for public consultation in P2/2017 Adoption in P3/2017
BEREC Report providing practical guidance regarding the technical implementation of a QoS monitoring system. Adoption in P2/2017 (after dialogue with stakeholders) Decision on the next steps (possible launching of an opt-in quality monitoring software in P3) P2/2017
BEREC Report analysing contractual, commercial and technical practices for the implementation of article 3 of Regulation 2015/2020, including recommendations to NRAs Adoption in P4/2017 (after dialogue with stakeholders)

Facebook is talking to the White House about giving US ‘free’ Internet - WashPost

Facebook is talking to the White House about giving you ‘free’ Internet. Here’s why that may be controversial. - The Washington Post: "In the wake of the uproar, Facebook updated its approach to Free Basics. It currently allows any third-party organization to offer its services as part of the program, provided that the organization's developers abide by terms that, for example, prohibit the use of high-definition images or video that could consume a great deal of mobile data.

U.S. Internet advocates have called on the Federal Communications Commission to regulate zero-rating under its net neutrality rules. The practice, they argue, risks tilting the online marketplace to benefit large, established firms, or the corporate partners of those firms.

“Zero-rating is pernicious, unfair and unnecessary,” said Susan Crawford, a law professor at Harvard who has advocated for strong regulation of the broadband industry. Permitting the practice would simply enable “the gameplaying of companies who have a strong interest in maintaining the status quo.”

The agency has not decided whether to take action." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, October 06, 2016

Say Bonjour to the Internet’s Long-Lost French Uncle | Internet Hall of Fame

Say Bonjour to the Internet’s Long-Lost French Uncle | Internet Hall of Fame: "In building CYCLADES, Pouzin used the ARPANET as a model, as well as the British research network overseen by Donald Davies across the English Channel. Like the ARPANET and Davies’ National Physical Laboratory network, CYCLADES used packet-switching, meaning information would be broken down into tiny messages, or packets, before traveling across the wire. But Pouzin reinvented these network packets, creating something called the “datagram.”" 'via Blog this'

T-Mobile killed Binge On and hatched a whole new set of problems | FierceWireless

T-Mobile killed Binge On and hatched a whole new set of problems | FierceWireless: "With T-Mobile’s launch of Uncarrier 12, which makes all of its data plans unlimited, the carrier has effectively killed three of its previous Uncarrier initiatives: Binge On, Music Freedom and Data Stash.

In one fell swoop, T-Mobile looks to have washed its hands of some net neutrality controversy with its zero-rated data practices. But with the apparent exit of Binge On, Music Freedom and Data Stash, a new set of problems for T-Mobile could just be beginning to take shape.

With all its new customers now being ushered onto unlimited data plans, there’s no need to zero-rate streaming activities or to roll over unused data from month-to-month." 'via Blog this'

European net neutrality, at last? | openDemocracy

European net neutrality, at last? | openDemocracy: "BEREC was given nine months to draft, consult and finalise the Guidelines, hence the 30 August 2016 deadline. In the meantime, the Regulation came into effect in April but was largely ignored by national regulators in the absence of the final Guidelines. It has been a year of “phoney war” on net neutrality while the legal text has been ignored in practice. Call it ‘Schrodinger’s net neutrality’ – net neutrality is both alive and dead in Europe, and only when enforcement by national authorities is tested, will we know the cat’s fate." 'via Blog this'

DFMonitor: zero-rating trends

DFMonitor: zero-rating trends'via Blog this'

Implications of Sponsored Data Program for Providers and Users of Nonsponsored Contents by Jialin Song, Qiong Wang :: SSRN

Implications of Sponsored Data Program for Providers and Users of Nonsponsored Contents by Jialin Song, Qiong Wang :: SSRN: "Every major mobile service provider (MSP) in the US has now introduced a sponsored data program that allows content providers to pay for bandwidth usage on behalf of their customers. However, not every content provider (CP) is in the position to be a sponsor, leading to the concern that these programs may be detrimental to the welfare of users and providers of nonsponsored contents.

We develop a model-based analysis that characterizes conditions under which a sponsorship program may or may not lead to higher costs for users to access nonsponsored contents, or deliver a negative demand shock to their providers.

We capture the situation without a sponsorship program by a commodity bundling model, in which users pay a single price for a data plan for accessing all contents, analogous to buying a ``bundle'' of commodities. A sponsorship program removes a subset of contents from the bundle, and hence reduces users' willingness to pay for the plan. There is no guarantee that the change will lead the MSP to reduce the price of the data plan to accommodate this change. In fact, as we demonstrate by example, there exist cases where the MSP improves its profit by raising the price. Nevertheless, we argue that such situations may not be typical by showing that for many distributions of consumer types, it is in the MSP's best interest to lower the price of the data plan, reducing consumers' costs of accessing nonsponsored contents. On the other hand, providers of these contents may still be negatively affected by smaller demand if the price is not reduced sufficiently to fully compensate for the decline of willingness to pay. We develop conditions for such situations to occur and discuss related insights." 'via Blog this'

Policy Challenges in Mapping Internet Interdomain Congestion by KC Claffy, David D. Clark, Steven Bauer, Amogh D. Dhamdhere :: SSRN

Policy Challenges in Mapping Internet Interdomain Congestion by KC Claffy, David D. Clark, Steven Bauer, Amogh D. Dhamdhere :: SSRN: "Interconnection links connecting access providers to their peers, transit providers and major content providers are a potential point of discriminatory treatment and impairment of user experience. In the U.S., the FCC has asserted regulatory authority over those links, although they have acknowledged they lack sufficient expertise to develop appropriate regulations thus far. Without a basis of knowledge that relates measurement to justified inferences about actual impairment, different actors can put forward opportunistic interpretations of data to support their points of view.

 We introduce a topology-aware model of interconnection, to add clarity to a recent proliferation of data and claims, and to elucidate our own beliefs about how to measure interconnection links of access providers, and how policymakers should interpret the results. We use six case studies that span data sets offered by access providers, edge providers, academic researchers, and one mandated by the FCC. This last example reflects our recent experience as the Independent Measurement Experts that worked with the FCC and AT&T in establishing a measurement methodology for reporting on the state of AT&T’s interconnection links. These case studies show how our conceptual model can guide a critical analysis of what is or should be measured and reported, and how to soundly interpret these measurements. We conclude with insights gained in the process of defining the AT&T/DirecTV methodology and in the process of defining and applying our conceptual model." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2016-192-2: Reddit

Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2016-192-2: "The official /r/Canada subreddit discussion forum on this topic will run from 9 a.m. (Eastern Time) on 26 September 2016 to 8 p.m. (Eastern Time) on 30 September 2016. To post comments or to “up”/“down” vote this topic during this period, individuals must be registered as users with Reddit (an email, a username, and a password are required to register). As per standard Reddit practices, comments from newly registered users will be private (i.e. not posted online) until they are manually approved by one of the subreddit /r/Canada moderators. The approval turnaround time will be less than two hours between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. (Eastern Time). Seasoned users will experience no delays in posting their comments online. Individuals can view the online discussion at any time on the /r/Canada subreddit web page; registration is not required for viewing.  

Participants are reminded that in this proceeding, the Commission is considering the following policy questions to determine which differential pricing practices, if any, may not be acceptable under the Telecommunications Act:
How should differential pricing practices be defined, in relation to the provision of Internet data plans over wireline and wireless networks?
What are the benefits and concerns about these practices, and do these concerns outweigh the benefits such that regulatory intervention is justified?
What regulatory measures, if any, should the Commission implement?" 'via Blog this'

Friday, September 16, 2016

Slovenia strikes down ban on zero rating, upholds rule of law: Roslyn Layton

I caught this late - European holidays intervened...Slovenia strikes down ban on zero rating, upholds rule of law: "Back in 2012, when Slovenia created their net neutrality rules, lawmakers rejected a provision that outlawed price discrimination. Last week’s ruling against AKOS (which is forthcoming here, but that I learned about from participants at an AKOS-hosted conference) reiterated the Slovenian net neutrality law, saying that “network operators and Internet service providers must preserve the open and neutral nature of the internet. Thus they must not restrict, delay or slow down Internet traffic at the level of individual services or applications.” But it ruled that the definition does not constitute a prescription for the financial treatment of traffic. 

The court explained, “The non-charging of transfer of certain data does not constitute a breach… nor can it be regarded as a restriction, restraint, or slowing down Internet traffic at the level of individual services or applications. Nor can it be equated with the prohibition of equal treatment and positive price discrimination cannot be extracted by any interpretative method.”

In other words, the court ruled that price discrimination is allowed under net neutrality law, accepted the competition authority’s explanation of the practice, and confirmed the petitioners’ arguments." 'via Blog this'

BEREC's guidelines on zero rating are another "economics-free zone", populism is the guiding principle - Layton

BEREC's guidelines on zero rating are another "economics-free zone", populism is the guiding principle - Roslyn Layton, Ph.D. Fellow: "If experience is any guide, BEREC will likely get itself into trouble should it adopt such guidelines.  After 18 months of deliberation, the Slovenian court ruled against the telecom regulator Akos on four lawsuits which charged that its decisions on zero rating were arbitrary and capricious. The Court declared that the Slovenian net neutrality law cannot be understood a per se prohibition on zero rating. The court also noted that the regulator ignored the economic analysis of the national competition authority. I have followed this case closely and describe it here and here. Telecom regulators, if they are smart will stick to their knitting in economics and not freelance into new territory." 'via Blog this'

Verizon and AT&T Testing Boundaries of Net Neutrality Rules: Fortune

Verizon and AT&T Testing Boundaries of Net Neutrality Rules: "“AT&T is using its latest data-cap exemptions to prop up its satellite-TV business by disfavoring the competitive and diverse video choices people have online,” said Matt Wood, policy director at public interest group Free Press, last week. Wood was similarly critical of Verizon’s Go90 data exemption, when it became public in February.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has not taken a position on the carriers’ zero ratings of their own services yet, but has said his agency will monitor the industry’s behavior. " 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Thursday, September 01, 2016

BEREC aims for balance, flexibility as it unveils final net neutrality guidance

BEREC aims for balance, flexibility as it unveils final net neutrality guidance: EUCOM "BEREC stressed that categories of traffic offered by Internet service providers (ISPs) should be based on quality of service (QoS) requirements.

Regarding more general guidance, a new paragraph 21 within the final guidance made clear that operators do not have to secure prior (ex ante) authorisation regarding commercial practices, traffic management, and specialised services.

 Looking ahead, BEREC has created a system for ongoing changes to this guidance, with one official telling a Brussels press conference today: “This is not the end of the discussion, but rather the starting point for the next phase.”

The final guidance stressed that BEREC will encourage and help NRAs to exchange their experience of implementing the guidelines, including by annual reports – the first to be provided by June 2017.

The European body said that it would “review and update the guidelines as and when it considers it to be appropriate.”

 One question at the press conference was over the risk that NRAs would still interpret the guidance differently, despite their goal of forging a common approach within the European Union.

BEREC officials said that where commercial disputes emerged as a result, the courts would adjudicate.

One official stressed that the guidance was designed to be sufficiently flexible to promote net neutrality in national markets varying widely in size and complexity, and so different NRA rulings were not necessarily a bad result: “There’s no one size fits all,” he said." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

EU's net neutrality guidelines get published - BBC News

EU's net neutrality guidelines get published - BBC News: ""There are lots of details still to be determined like how national regulators like Ofcom actually enforce the law using these guidelines," commented Prof Chris Marsden of Sussex University
"The law has been in force for months and they're not exactly stampeding to bring actions.

"Civil society organisations are claiming a great victory but we will see. With over 30 national regulators involved - 28 EU plus several others - much can change or be ignored."" 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Europe's net neutrality guidelines seen as a victory for the open web | The Verge

Europe's net neutrality guidelines seen as a victory for the open web | The Verge: "The guidelines prohibit zero-rating in circumstances "where all applications are blocked or slowed down once the data cap is reached," though they acknowledge that some cases are "less clear-cut." European regulators should assess such practices on a case-by-case basis, BEREC said, taking account for factors such as the market share of an ISP, effects on app choice, and the scale of the practice.

The regulations also allow for traffic management "under limited circumstances;" traffic management practices that block, interfere with, or slow down services and apps would be banned.

 The guidelines provide examples of what could be considered as a specialized service, including VoLTE (high-quality voice calls), linear IPTV services, and remote surgeries, which would operate separately from the internet. Such services would have to meet certain quality and capacity requirements to ensure that they can only operate on networks that are not connected to the internet." 'via Blog this'

BEREC aims for balance, flexibility as it unveils final net neutrality guidance

BEREC aims for balance, flexibility as it unveils final net neutrality guidance: "On the key issue of zero-rated free services offered once a consumer has exceeded a data cap, one change to the guidance stressed that some commercial practices should by allowed by NRAs.

This would probably include the “ability of end-users to access ISP’s customer service when data cap is reached in order to purchase additional data,” said a BEREC note.

 Also, as regards “specialised services” that require sufficient bandwidth and cannot slow down standard services, such as VoLTE, BEREC added a new category: 5G services using network slicing.

 It also clarified the guidance that specialised services should not provide connectivity to the internet, saying NRAs should ensure specialised services should be “‘logically separated’ from IAS [internet access services].”

 Regarding transparency issues, BEREC redefined “maximum speed (fixed)” offered to users as “speed end-user could expect to receive”." 'via Blog this'

FCC Wants More Time to Respond to Net Neutrality Challenge | Bloomberg BNA

FCC Wants More Time to Respond to Net Neutrality Challenge | Bloomberg BNA: "On Aug. 17, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit set a deadline of Sept. 12 for the agency to respond to the petitions. The FCC’s Aug. 23 motion requested a deadline extension to Oct. 3, stating the Sept. 12 deadline fell during a busy period for the agency. Counsel for the broadband providers did not oppose the extension, according to the FCC filing." 'via Blog this'

The EU’s net neutrality rules: an unfinished business – BEUC

The EU’s net neutrality rules: an unfinished business – Consumer Corner: "On each of the above points, BEREC must ensure that the rules truly meet the purpose of the EU law: protecting consumers’ right to an open, non-discriminatory access to the internet, and guaranteeing the internet continues to be the great, innovative tool it has always been.

 Regulating net neutrality is a political choice.

It is a conscious decision to protect a technology – the internet – that is an invaluable social asset. A political decision that sends a very clear signal to the market: protecting the internet means we need more and better networks that deliver ultra-fast, high quality access to the internet. A political decision that tells the telecoms industries that they don’t get to pick winners and losers online. A political decision that says loud and clear that, when accessing the Internet, the consumer always has the final word." 'via Blog this'

Ninth Circuit Dismisses FTC’s Throttling Suit Against AT&T | Inside Privacy

Ninth Circuit Dismisses FTC’s Throttling Suit Against AT&T | Inside Privacy: "In an opinion released [29/8/2016], the Ninth Circuit dismissed the Federal Trade Commission’s (“FTC”) lawsuit against AT&T for violating Section 5 of the FTC Act due to its throttling practices.  AT&T’s practice of throttling the speed of customers with unlimited data plans once they reached a certain data usage threshold had been challenged by the FTC as both unfair and deceptive under Section 5.  The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s prior ruling denying AT&T’s motion to dismiss on the ground that AT&T was a common carrier and therefore exempt from Section 5 of the FTC Act.

 The Ninth Circuit presented the issue as whether the common carrier exemption in Section 5 is status-based, as AT&T argued, or activity-based, as the FTC argued.  According to the FTC, companies are only exempt from Section 5 liability to the extent the activity at issue is a “common carrier activity.”  The Ninth Circuit disagreed, finding that the statutory language “simply does not comport with an activity-based approach.”" 'via Blog this'

Why the telcos industry is so annoyed with Berec’s Guidelines on net neutrality « radiobruxelleslibera

Why the telcos industry is so annoyed with Berec’s Guidelines on net neutrality « radiobruxelleslibera: "Despite of the above, the telco industry still hoped that Berec would issue Guidelines interpreting the Regulation in a way that zero-rating and network management practices would be simply allowed, also discriminating amongst commercial services, without further assessment by anyone.

To the contrary, Berec laid down just criteria and referred the competence to decide on specific cases to the national regulators, which in the future will exercise a formidable power in this matter. This scenario is indigestible to big telcos which would prefer to avoid to discuss their commercial practices with national regulators (because in that case they also have to discuss with consumers associations).

Secondly, criteria and conditions laid down by Berec will have an important impact upon the heart of big telcos’ commercial strategy.

Berec indicates that “non-agnostic” zero-rating and network management practices will likely to be forbidden by national regulators. This is a disastrous news for big telcos because discriminating Internet services (in order to favor own or partnered services) is what this telco industry has in mind since all the net neutrality battle and debate started (in 2005 in the EU)." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Wi-Fi dominant data technology for mobiles - Mobile World Live

Wi-Fi dominant data technology for mobiles - Mobile World Live: "The Global State of Mobile Networks study, based on 12.3 billion measurements taken by 822,556 OpenSignal users in an 84 day period, found that smartphone users spent more than 50 per cent of their time connected to Wi-Fi, with Netherlands the most mobile Wi-Fi hungry country, where it accounted for 70 per cent of all smartphone connections.

“You could argue that in many places Wi-Fi has become a far more important mobile data technology than 3G or 4G,” noted the report." 'via Blog this'

Sunday, July 31, 2016

10 reasons not to trust BEREC on net neutrality

10 reasons not to trust BEREC on net neutrality. The EU process to create Open Internet guidelines lacks transparency, independence and credibility: "Requests for information from BEREC about the 15-16 December meeting including the participants and agenda have been denied.

 Ensuring the extreme version of net neutrality was further solidified in a secret “expert” meeting with Marsden and van Schewick in February in Rotterdam. The event was not open to the public nor the criteria for selecting the experts disclosed. BEREC’s websites notes the existence of a special packet of information made for the meeting, but the packet is not available on the website. Strand Consult has made multiple requests for the materials of the meeting, but BEREC has not responded.

In response to a question Strand Consult posed at the release of the guidelines on June 6, BEREC revealed that the “experts” were selected by Frode Sørensen and Henk Don of the ACM. The group comprises the collective “Friends of Frode” (FOF), those who are either professional net neutrality advocates funded in part by Google (van Schewick, Cooper); those who favor proactive regulatory intervention (Marsden); and a vendor to the European Parliament (Marcus). Henk Don said he was pleased with the “range of views” presented by the four FOF. "

This is genuinely not satire! - to repeat, I don't actually favour net neutrality! I am a FRAND person....

'via Blog this'

Thursday, July 28, 2016

R Street responds to BEREC on zero-rating and net-neutrality guidelines

R Street responds to Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) on zero-rating and net-neutrality guidelines: "R Street believes that, while some activists have called for guidelines that would discourage regulators from experimenting with some forms of pro-access zero-rating on the presumption that all zero-rating is anti-competitive, BEREC should ultimately provide guidelines that allow different nations to reach different conclusions about zero-rated services, consistent both with broad network-neutrality principles and pro-access principles." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Dean Bubley's Disruptive Wireless: My comments on BEREC's Net Neutrality guidelines consultation

Dean Bubley's Disruptive Wireless: My comments on BEREC's Net Neutrality guidelines consultation: "General comments:

There needs to be consideration of meshed, relayed or shared connections which run directly between users’ devices. In device-to-device scenarios, does the owner/operator of an intermediate device become responsible for the neutrality of the “onward” link to 3rd parties? (which could be via any technology such as WiFi, Bluetooth, wired USB port etc) 

There needs to be consideration that some of the more invasive mechanisms for traffic discrimination and control will in future move from “the network” to becoming virtualised software (provided by an ISP) that reside in edge-nodes at the customer premise, or even in customers’ mobile devices. It is unclear how the implementation guidelines deal with predictable near/mid-term trends in NFV/SDN technology, especially where there is no clear “demarcation point” in ownership between ISP and end-user. 

Equally, in future there may well be CAP companies that offer their services “in the network” itself, also with NFV/SDN. There needs to be careful thought given to how this intersects with Net Neutrality guidelines 

The evolution of artificial intelligence & machine-learning means that workarounds or infringements may become automated, and perhaps even invisible to ISPs, in future. This may also impact the nature of QoS as used for different applications. See for more details 

Where wholesale relationships occur – eg MNO/MVNO, “neutral host” networks using unlicenced-band LTE, or secondary ID on the same WiFi hotspot – and the traffic-management / IAS functions are co-managed, how do the guidelines apply? Which party/parties is responsible?"

'via Blog this'

MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar calls for clear Net Neutrality laws, more powers for TRAI to enforce them | The Indian Express

MP Rajeev Chandrasekhar calls for clear Net Neutrality laws, more powers for TRAI to enforce them | The Indian Express: "The TRAI consultation paper dated December 9, 2015, had sought comments on the matter of differential pricing.

In ‘counter comments’ to the claim that VoIP and OTT services take away the level playing field, the MP said “the need for a free, open and fair internet, however, must supersede this desire of telcos to misuse control, and increase profits”.

He says the TRAI Act, in its current form, does not have enough teeth to adequately define and enforce consumer rights. “There is significant evidence that due to the finite number of access providers and limited competition in the sector, there exists a pricing and QoS co-op. There is therefore a need for a strong set of legal consumer rights and a legislation that gives Indian consumers a fair deal.”" 'via Blog this'

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Net neutrality overreaction antics round two

Net neutrality overreaction antics round two: "Having heard the histrionics over net neutrality on the part of telcos last week, this week saw the other side of the debate proffer some portentous proclamations about what might happen to the Internet unless regulators take an even tougher stance on how data traffic is treated.

None other than world wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, Harvard law professor Lawrence Lessig, and Internet and Society professor Barbara van Schewick of Stanford law school on Thursday penned an open letter, casually titled: "four days to save the open Internet in Europe"." 'via Blog this'

Monday, July 18, 2016

Brexit has left a regulatory black hole for digital, say MPs • The Register

Brexit has left a regulatory black hole for digital, say MPs • The Register: "The publication of the Government's Digital Strategy has been delayed by over six months. The Committee urges the government to set out in its Digital Strategy the implications of Brexit, with reference to specific, current negotiations relating to the digital economy.

"We look forward to the publication of the Government's Digital Strategy, in the summer of 2016 (six months later than expected)," it said. 

However, sources have told The Register that the strategy has been put on ice following Brexit.

The strategy is also supposed to contain an outline of how the Government Digital Service will spend its £450m windfall from last November.

Iain Wright MP, chair of the BIS committee, urged the government to set out its plans. "This includes urgently addressing the concerns of tech companies who rely on the single market and high-skilled migrants from the EU.

"The Government needs to clarify regulation to ensure fair competition while enabling digital businesses to thrive and grow to the benefit of consumers and the UK economy."" 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, July 05, 2016

'Zero rating' battle throws [Canada] net neutrality in doubt: Geist, Toronto Star

'Zero rating' battle throws net neutrality in doubt: Geist | Toronto Star: "A group of Canada’s largest radio station owners (including Rogers Media, Newcap and Corus Entertainment) also warn about the dangers of differential pricing, noting that it “could provide unlicensed or non-Canadian audio services with an undue advantage and/or cause an undue disadvantage to licensed commercial radio stations.”

 In fact, smaller ISPs and telecom companies are also concerned with differential pricing. TBayTel, a telecom company based in Thunder Bay, argues that “the practice of exempting certain service applications such as music or video streaming from a subscriber’s data plan cap should not be allowed.” 

A CRTC hearing on zero rating and differential pricing is planned for the fall, but it is already clear that a retreat from Canada’s well-established net neutrality principles will face vocal opposition from government, consumer groups and a growing number of industry players." 'via Blog this'

Sweden: the weakest link in EU net neutrality reform?

Sweden: the weakest link in EU net neutrality reform? | "While PTS is stalling the zero-rating debate in Sweden, they are also negotiating at EU level on new net neutrality rules. This August, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (“BEREC”) must adopt common rules on zero-rating for the entire EU.

The stage is set for a heated debate: on the one end we find states such as the Netherlands and Slovenia, which have set promising examples by prohibiting zero-rating outright. On the other end are lax, unresponsive states such as Sweden and the UK, which have let their markets stray further and further away from net neutrality. The UK is known for taking market-oriented, Eurosceptic position in regulatory discussions. But the Swedish regulator is a more unlikely villain, given Sweden’s reputation as a champion of regulation and consumer protection. Sources close to the negotiations describe the Swedish regulator as the most extreme anti-net neutrality voice, taking a laissez-faire stance which is “worse than the Brits”." 'via Blog this'

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Net Neutrality and Control of the Internet: MIT Press

Net Neutrality and Control of the Internet | The MIT Press: "Net neutrality is the private censorship of our communications by our IAPs—for instance Verizon or AT&T, Comcast or T-Mobile. It is regulated by the FCC through merger conditions placed on those giant companies since 2005, and to a far lesser extent by Open Internet Orders which are continually appealed through the federal courts. In Europe, similar rules have been put in place by some countries (Netherlands, Slovenia, Finland, Norway) though not for mergers, but it took until October 2015 for the European Union to pass a Regulation enforcing common rules in the 30 European Economic Area nations—partly because big nations such as Germany and the United Kingdom refused to enforce weaker 2009 rules. These nations are home to Vodafone (part-owner of Verizon Wireless until 2014) and Deutsche Telekom, owner of T-Mobile. US regulation is intimately tied into that in Europe through such corporate cross-holdings.

 Net neutrality also involves privacy intrusion—an IAP can only block your access to for instance Instant Messaging services Skype or WhatsApp if it examines your Internet traffic. Such pervasive ‘traffic management’ is highly controversial both because the IAP is trying to block your choice of rival cheaper services, and because it means the IAP is viewing your traffic, looking over your shoulder as you browse, even if you are a journalist or lawyer or elected politican. Though IAPs claim that such traffic monitoring is automatic and does not amount to direct censorship, the increased intelligence of such monitoring led us to title the net neutrality chapter ‘Smart Pipes’—whereas the Internet was once seen to be a ‘dumb pipe.’" 'via Blog this'

TeleFrieden: Preliminary Summary of Network Neutrality Decision

TeleFrieden: Preliminary Summary of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Network Neutrality Decision: "The partial dissent chided the FCC for poor economic analysis and its failure to provide adequate notice to affected parties, citing F.C.C. v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., 556 U.S. 502, 515 (2009).  Additionally, the partial dissent took an activist posture suggesting that the FCC wrongly applied common carriage obligations on a market that the FCC wrongly considered to evidence monopoly characteristics. [5]

With unexpected uniformity, the court majority rejected claims that the FCC lacked legal authority to reclassify broadband internet access as a common carrier telecommunications service provided via either fixed or mobile carriers.  The court noted that, while the FCC previously had deemed broadband access an information service, it did reserve the option to revisit its classification [6] and had good reason to do so. [7]

Additionally the court did not consider it a fatal flaw that the FCC extended its telecommunications service jurisdiction to include the upstream links from so-called last mile Internet Service Providers to content providers and distributors.  The court noted that in the Supreme Court’s Brand X review of the FCC’s determination that last mile access fit within the information service classification, the case applied the Chevron Doctrine analysis and determined that the definitions of telecommunications service and information service were ambiguous and the FCC’s interpretation and policy prescriptions were reasonable.[8]" 'via Blog this'

Slow Walk to High Court Best Tactic for Net Neutrality Foes - Bloomberg Politics

Slow Walk to High Court Best Tactic for Net Neutrality Foes - Bloomberg Politics: "The court decided all major points in the FCC’s favor, leaving lawmakers less likely to act, said Matthew Schettenhelm, a Bloomberg Intelligence analyst.

“Democrats and President Obama have little incentive to permit legislation that cuts back on the FCC’s authority,” Schettenhelm said. “The industry’s best chance now is a Donald Trump White House.”

 GOP candidate Trump has tweeted he’d seek to reverse rules. Democrat Hillary Clinton in a tweet Tuesday called the court ruling “a big win for consumers, innovation, and freedom of expression on the internet.”" 'via Blog this'

After net neutrality loss, ISPs get ready to take case to Supreme Court | Ars Technica

After net neutrality loss, ISPs get ready to take case to Supreme Court | Ars Technica: "The Supreme Court can pick and choose what cases it wants to hear, so there's no guarantee ISPs would even get in front of the justices.

Law professors interviewed by Bloomberg said chances of a high court review are so slim that ISPs would be best served by asking for an en banc review first. The fact that it was a 2-1 decision instead of 3-0 may increase the chances of an en banc review, but there's no reliable way to predict how it will turn out.

 Even if ISPs take the interim step of seeking an en banc review,  AT&T does not expect it to be the last phase of the battle. “We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal," AT&T general counsel David McAfee said." 'via Blog this'

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

#CRTC extends deadline for interventions on #netneutrality #zerorating #Halloween consultation

Reference : 2016-192 Ottawa, 3 June 2016 File number: 1011-NOC-2016-0192 Notice of hearing 31 October 2016 Gatineau, Quebec: Examination of differential pricing practices related to Internet data plans Revised deadline for submission of interventions: 28 June 2016:

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Zero rating in the US: no news

"The Commission announced in the Order that it would allow companies to obtain an advisory
opinion concerning any “proposed conduct that may implicate the rules,” in order to “enable companies to seek guidance on the propriety of certain open Internet practices before implementing them.” 2015 Open Internet Order, 30 FCC Rcd. at 5706 ¶¶ 229–30.
The opinions will be issued by the Enforcement Bureau and “will be publicly available.” Id. at
5706–07 ¶¶ 229, 231. As a result, although the Commission did not reach a definitive resolution during the rulemaking process as to the permissibility under the General Conduct Rule of practices such as zero-rating and usage caps, see id. at 5666–67 ¶ 151, companies that seek to pursue those sorts of practices may petition for an advisory opinion and thereby avoid an inadvertent infraction. The opportunity to obtain prospective guidance thus provides regulated entities with “relief from [remaining] uncertainty.” DiCola, 77 F.3d at 509; see also Hoffman, 455 U.S. at 498."
P104 in the judgment, so it's still up to Wheeler's FCC to decide whether to impose rules in Obama's last 6 months.

DC Appeals Court Upholds FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules, AT&T Vows to Appeal

DC Appeals Court Upholds FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules, AT&T Vows to Appeal: "“We have always expected this issue to be decided by the Supreme Court, and we look forward to participating in that appeal,” AT&T Senior Executive Vice President and General Counsel David McAtee said in a statement.  According to the court, the challenge to the FCC’s rules came from “three separate groups of petitioners” who argued “Commission lacks statutory authority to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service, that even if the Commission has such authority its decision was arbitrary and capricious, that the Commission impermissibly classified mobile broadband as a commercial mobile service, that the Commission impermissibly forbore from certain provisions of Title II, and that some of the rules violate the First Amendment.”

The court, however, said it found “extensive support in the record” to “justify the Commission’s decision to reclassify broadband as a telecommunications service”

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler hailed the decision as a “victory.”" 'via Blog this'