Total Pageviews

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'