Today, the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative, Electronic Frontier Finland, Hispalinux, Global Partners & Associates, Open Rights Group, and the Open Spectrum Alliance responded to the European Commission's questionnaire on the Open Internet and Net Neutrality. Thereply focuses on the Internet as a result of the interconnection of thousands of neutral networks and the harm caused by discriminatory network management practices and fragmentation caused when network operators provide different definitions for "Internet access."
"Services offering 'Internet access' should not mean you can use application A but not application B, but throughout Europe, network operators are limited the freedom of end-users with discriminatory network management practices," explained James Losey, Program Associate with the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative. "These recommendations will provide a common regulatory framework for a Community-wide neutral Internet necessary to pursue goals of universal service, e-commerce, and promote European innovation."
In the reply the groups describe examples of non-neutral networks and how these discriminatory network practices have a direct impact on end-user freedom, Internet innovation, and foreclose on opportunities the Internet can provide.
"As evidenced by the recent decisions of a number of European Internet access providers to prioritize certain applications and content over others, it increasingly appears that competition alone may not be sufficient to protect the open Internet and underscore the need for a strong and clear regulatory framework to protect users and the free flow of commerce, creativity and free speech online, noted Benjamin Lennett, Sr. Policy Analyst for the Open Technology Initiative."
Recommendations detailed in the response include:
- The European Union should make a clear commitment to the protection of an Internet built on end-to-end architecture where access to services, applications, and content, and how they interact with the network is decided by the end-user.
- "Internet access" should be clearly defined to as access to any and all applications, services or content available on the public Internet at the discretion of the end-user.
- The Commission should issue ex ante principles as clear guidance underpinning the protection of the open Internet in the revised Electronic Communications Framework, including what constitutes reasonable traffic management to create a unified Community-wide framework.
- Network neutrality rules should be applied equally to fixed and mobile networks.
- All network operators should provide a standard Truth-in-Labeling disclosure with network capabilities, including minimum guarantees, limitations, and restrictions.
- National Regulatory Agencies should implement tools for measurement, data collection, and analysis of network traffic and performance of fixed and mobile networks.
Full Reply Available Here: http://www.newamerica.net/publications/resources/2010/ response_to_the_european_commission_questionnaire_for_the_public_consult.
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