On 5 July, Vladimir Radunovic hosted a webinar on 'The (remaining) challenges of Network Neutrality'. We asked: Should Internet service providers be allowed to place restrictions on access, or discriminate according to content, services, or applications? Should telecom providers be allowed to block access to Skype or other VoIP services to give preference to their own voice services? Chile and the Netherlands have already passed legislation prohibiting restrictions or discrimination on traffic. Will other countries follow suit?
Digest of discussion
- The possibility of congestion due to dense global traffic arising from the use of high bandwidth services (like HD TV and streams) – especially in the developing world and in wireless transmissions (since the wireless spectrum is a scarce resource);
- A concern over what basis the telecom carriers are employing to decide on the prioritisation of packages. Are carriers basing their decisions on technical needs for the improvement of quality of service and for avoiding congestion? Or are they also basing their decisions on economic interests and on fighting competition?
- The effects of prioritisation of traffic in the developing world, where bandwidths are commonly limited;
- The roles and interests of business entities in the Net Neutrality debate, and the sides they are taking (and changing).
[Editor's note: The webinar was organised under Diplo’s Capacity Development Programme in ICT Policy and IG for ACP countries, supported by the European Commission and ACP Secretariat]