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EN - 3 - Preserving net neutrality

Page history last edited by Luca Cominassi 12 years, 10 months ago

This page is for discussing the content of the paragraph 3: Preserving net neutrality

Go to Newropeans' initial working paper: FrontPage 


3. Preserving net neutrality

Internet services must enable users to deliver packets to any other point of the Internet and at the same time must accept packets from any other Internet user or service. Otherwise the Internet would lose its democratic character, degrading into a centralized and controllable platform. Today users choose the bandwidth, pay the relative cost of connection and get access to the entire Internet. Any internet user can develop a new application without asking their ISP (Internet Service Providers), or the cable company or the government. These are some of the most relevant features of the neutral internet.

So far consumer groups and civil liberties organizations underline that a lack of legislation about net neutrality guarantees will cause a loss of the economic, cultural and political benefits brought by Internet. On the other side, telephone and cable companies oppose any neutrality regulation, assuming that non-discrimination obligation will limit their incentives to invest in the next generation broadband networks.

We believe indeed in the principle of net neutrality as a way to preserve the benefits of internet as a free and open technology. This ensures that information on the Internet is not prioritized on the basis of its sender or its destination. The EU should stimulate neutral broadband networks free of restrictions on content, sites or platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and on the modes of communication allowed. The micro-economics concerns should not prevail on macro-economics benefits of an internet offered on a non-discriminatory basis. The Internet has to remain a free and open technology fostering innovation, economic growth and democratic communication.

A short-term solution to ensure the continued existence of an open network connecting general-purpose computers is regulation. This consists fundamentally in splitting the responsibilities for content of data from those of transfer of data. Requiring ISPs to be divided into ITPs (Internet Transfer Providers) and IHPs (Internet Hosting Providers). ITPs are required to treat all packets equally. Companies shall not provide both services.

The middle-term goal should be the development of municipal broadband networks. This model would allow the emergence of a neutral information transport infrastructure on a nonmarket model. These systems would be public, like highways, sidewalks, and parks. The physical fiber going to the home — without the devices determining the use of the connectivity should be built by the municipality.

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