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Network Neutrality: the economic, technical & consumers approaches:
During this workshop where distinguished speakers such as Vint Cerf, Lynn St Amour, Jake Jennings, Robert Pepper, etc. discussed on Managing the Internet, here are some information gathered as a remote participant.
In the next years, wireless will be the main architecture on Internet traffic, as prevision shows that actually it increase in different part of the world. In the
meantime, managing the internet is a complex task, as it refers to different
networks when referring to technical management, said Mr Pepper from Cisco.
There are different internet services which are using different applications.
In the same way, some company have two approaches: management of services like
iptv, telephone, etc. and management of traffic in internet access.
In another perspective, three activities are solicited: openness from consumers, broadband availability, and innovation. The regulation of these three aspects is
necessary for an open internet.
Concerning an economic approach, we can mention prize of services. Generally, prizes depend on data caps when talking transmission. A “new” regulation approach has been
highlighted, the Soft law regulation. It is like guidelines introduced from the
authorities, guidelines agreed upon by the market players. It has been applied
in Norway, Japan, etc. For instance, the use of 60% of the bandwidth by only
10% of consumers by using P2P, allows the Japanese government to adopt a soft
law which didn’t affect the majority of consumers.
According to M. Koch, users have three main activities when it comes to choose from public internet and managed services. The first thing is good access
independently from period, second competitive environment and lastly
transparency. But this competitive environment market can only be possible if consumers
know what they get and what they buy.
One of the main issues which merge when talking about internet governance is access, as recognized by panelists. The challenge is faced by consumers both in developed
and developing countries, so it’s important for consumers or end users to be
aware in our competitive environment, to choose a service rather than other.
Unfortunately, some panelists agree that network neutrality issue in not really
addressed in developing countries, because of the “Basic Access” needed.
During this meeting, we had the opportunity to have the view of Fiji, a developing country. In that part of the world, they have one international gateway, one fixed line
provider, and a bunch of mobile service providers. So if the Internet is
expensive from the international gateway, it's very expensive for consumers. In
that country, they can’t use iphone due to the access which in barely for
almost dial-up connection.
In many developing countries, as argued by a panelist, liberalization was forced, and regulators don’t have economic analysis neither benchmarking. And all this
affect IT prices which are always high. In another way, investment on
infrastructure should increase, and stakeholders who can impact national
policies have to redirect donor funds towards investment on broadband access.
Most of panelists agree that transparency towards consumers is important for an open internet.
At the end, some preoccupations emerged as issues which can be addressed as network neutrality: The expensive process which consists of switching domestic voice
services for African countries and the expensive regulated frequencies
spectrums in Africa.