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van Eijk, N.; Nikoltchev, S. (2011)
Publisher: European Audiovisual Observatory
Languages: English
Types: Part of book or chapter of book
Net neutrality is high on the European agenda. New regulations for the communication sector provide a legal framework for net neutrality and need to be implemented on both a European and a national level. The key element is not just about blocking or slowing down traffic across communication networks: the control over the distribution of audiovisual services constitutes a vital part of the problem. In this contribution, the phenomenon of net neutrality is described first. Next, the European and American contexts are dealt with. The impact for audiovisual services is sketched in the analysis, including the question of whether net neutrality is a new phenomenon and whether parallels can be drawn with previous issues. In the conclusion, we refer to the necessity of seeing net neutrality as a value chain issue. In addition, existing and future regulatory intervention needs to take a more concrete approach to net neutrality.
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    • 1) Nico van Eijk is professor in Media and Telecommunications Law at the Institute for Information Law (IViR, University of Amsterdam (http://www.ivir.nl/staff/vaneijk.html )).
    • 2) T. Wu, Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination, 2 J. on Telecomm. and High Tech. L. 141, 2003. (http://www.jthtl.org/content/articles/V2I1/JTHTLv2i1_Wu.PDF; also: http://ssrn.com/abstract=388863).
    • 3) FCC Policy Statement on Network Neutrality FCC 05-151, adopted 5 August 2005.
    • 7) More detailed information about the technical aspects of net neutrality can be found in the following study (Marcus et al, 2011): J. Scott Marcus, P. Nooren, J. Cave & K.R. Carter, Network Neutrality: Challenges and responses in the EU and in the U.S., European Parliament, 2011 (http://www.europarl.europa.eu/document/activities/cont/201105/20110523ATT20073/20110523ATT20073EN.pdf).
    • 8) In 2008 the European Commission started an investigation on the use of DPI technology in the context of behavioural targeting (IP/09/570). More recently, the use of DPI by the Dutch telco-incumbent KPN raised concerns. Nevertheless, DPI seems to be an established practice, also in the context of video distribution (http://www.mspnews.com/news/2010/04/30/4760968.htm).
    • 9) http://www.whatsapp.com/
    • 10) Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive) OJ L 108/33 (24 April 2002); Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities (Access Directive) OJ L 108/7 (24 April 2002); Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive) OJ L 108/21 (24 April 2002); Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) OJ L 108/51 (24 April 2002) and Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications or e-privacy directive) OJ L 201/37 (31 July 2002).
    • 11) Amendments to the Framework Directive and the Universal Service Directive: Directive 2009/136/EC of 25 November 2009, OJ L 337/11 (18 December 2009) (“Citizens' Rights Directive”) and Directive 2009/140/EC of 25 November 2009, OJ L 337/37 (18 December 2009) (“Better Regulation Directive”) .
    • 12) Article 8.4 , sub g, Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive): “(..) The national regulatory authorities shall promote the interests of the citizens of the European Union by inter alia: (..) (g) promoting the ability of end-users to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice; (..)”.
    • 13) Citizens' Rights Directive, Recital 28.
    • 18) For example: the Autorité de régulation des Communications électroniques et des postes (ARCEP), “Discussion points and initial policy directions on Internet and network neutrality”, May 2010; Office of Communication (Ofcom), “Traffic Management and 'net neutrality, a Discussion Document”, 24 June 2010. Or more recently, The Autorità per le garanzie nelle comunicazioni (AGCOM), “Delibera 40/11/CONS, Public consultation on Net Neutrality”, 3 February 2011
    • 19) IP/10/860 of 30 June 2010 (“Digital Agenda: Commission launches consultation on net neutrality”). In this contribution we will mainly focus on the first two questions on current problems with net neutrality and on future issues that might arise.
    • 20) The responses can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/policy/ecomm/library/public_consult/net_neutrality/comments/index_en.htm
    • 21) European Commission, “Report on the public consultation on 'The open internet and net neutrality in Europe”, 9 November 2010; IP/10/1482 of 9 November 2010 (“Digital Agenda: consultation reveals near consensus on importance of preserving open Internet”).
    • 22) BEREC, Response to the European Commission's consultation on the open internet and net neutrality in Europe, 30 September 2011, document code BoR (10)42.
    • 23) We focus here on responses by the broadcasting sector, but also other interested parties, such as the producers, distributers and right holders of audio visual works responded (FIAD - Fédération internationale des associations de distributeurs de films; MPA - Motion Picture Association; GESAC - European Grouping of Societies of Authors and Composers and FEP - Federation of European Publishers). These reactions addressed similar concerns, but in addition discussed related issues such as the illegal distribution of audiovisual works.
    • 24) EBU, The EBU response to the questionnaire for the public consultation on the open internet and net neutrality in Europe, 30 September 2010.
    • 25) Réponse du Groupe Canal+ à la consultation publique sur l'internet ouvert et la neutralité du net en Europe.
    • 26) Dailymotion, contribution de Dailymotion à la consultation publique sur l'internet ouvert et la neutralité en Europe, 29 septembre 2010
    • 27) Response of the Nederlandse Publieke Omroep (NPO: Netherlands Public Broadcasting) to the EC Questionnaire for the public consultation on the open internet and net neutrality in Europe: publication date: 30 June 2010.
    • 28) Association of Commercial Television in Europe (ACT), The Response of the Association of Commercial Television in Europe to the Net Neutrality Consultation.
    • 29) I.e. by arguing that network providers have to invest in more bandwidth from which the content providers benefit.
    • 30) Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee on the Regions, The open internet and net neutrality in Europe, Brussels, 19 April 2011, COM(2011) 222 final. Also: “The internet belongs to all of us”, speech by Nelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Brussels, 19 April 2011, SPEECH/11/285.
    • 31) http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/media-dataprotection/conf-internet-freedom/REYKJAVIK_RESOLUTION_ INTERNET_GOVERNANCE.pdf
    • 32) http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/standardsetting/media-dataprotection/conf-internet-freedom/Internet%20Governance%20 Principles.pdf
    • 33) Recommendation CM/Rec(2007)16 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to promote the public service value of the Internet (Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 7 November 2007 at the 1010th meeting of the Ministers' Deputies).
    • 34) For more details on the US situation see the zoom contribution.
    • 35) FCC, Report and Order, 21 December 2010, FCC-10201. The rules have gone into effect in July 2011. There is no particular difference between net neutrality and the open internet. As the FCC puts it “Network neutrality is just another way of referring to open Internet principles” (http://www.openinternet.gov/open-internet-faq.html).
    • 36) The FCC decision in the case: http://hraunfoss.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-08-183A1.pdf
    • 37) http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/08/google-verizon-propose-open-vs-paid-internets/
    • 38) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/29/AR2010112907024.html
    • 45) See for example the BEREC-study “BEREC report on best practices to facilitate consumer switching', October 2010 (http://www.erg.eu.int/doc/berec/bor_10_34_rev1.pdf).
    • 46) “No Tolls on The Internet”, L. Lessig & R.W. McChesney, in: The Washington Post, 8 June 2006 (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/06/07/AR2006060702108.html).
    • 48) For example: R. Frieden, “Winning the Silicon Sweepstakes: Can the United States Compete in Global Telecommunications?”, Yale University Press, 2010, pp. 275-289.
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