NINTH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE
INTERNET GOVERNANCE FORUM 2014
"CONNECTING CONTINENTS FOR ENHANCED
MULTI-STAKEHOLDER INTERNET GOVERNANCE"
03 SEPTEMBER 2014
NETWORK NEUTRAILTY: A ROADMAP FOR INFRASTRUCTURE ENHANCEMENT
This is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.
>> LUCA BELLI: Good morning, I think we can get started. My name is Luca Belli. I'd like to welcome you to this workshop on Network Neutrality: A Roadmap for Infrastructure Enhancement. We'll have Parminder Singh, Michele Bellavite, unfortunately Ana wasn't able to join us, but we'll try to replace her with your inputs and suggestions.
So...I would like to get started with some perspective on Net Neutrality and some social values. Some social values that should be balanced with the need to promote infrastructure and that should be taken into consideration, in order to guarantee an equal level playing field in the market and I'd like to start by Parminder Singh, who is working with IC for change.
>> PARMINDER SINGH: Thank you. We work at the intersection of more of a social change development sites. Less on ICTs specific or ICT‑centric. Perhaps I can start talking about social aspects of it.
I speak of three points quickly. The first one is that, the way the Net Neutrality debate issue, there's confusion around it. Just giving up saying there must be something right and wrong. [Breaking up].
Trying to give two examples, when we talk about media freedom, the issue is a kind of freedom, why freedom is important for democracy.
...understanding that free service is a problem. We need to start doing it. And the last point, I hope ‑‑ are we good? Is about, I've been thinking about what really to do, it's good to have values, good to have good paradigms, but you need to make progress. I think I read it in one of the blogs forwarded by somebody. I didn't read the full part of it, but something about, we need to separate into two kind of internets. One is the typical broadcast services which are using IP, a server to the client's kind of services and other is the peer‑to‑peer network which should be claimed as a public network and that, that has to be essentially always, always Net Neutral. I think people would be beaming World Cup matches in the manner they want to do it using IP services.
Probably it's time to separate those two kinds of services and reclaim the peer‑to‑peer public internet as clearly a Net Neutral internet and what shouldn't be allowed is to mix the two.
Google, if it is on the internet, cannot mix the social results from a Net Neutral internet and tiered internet. So if you separate the, the internet with content provide scan pay to push as a different IP‑managing services, the public internet is reclaimed in its core values. I think that could be one of the possible directions to go. I haven't given it as much thought as I should have, but I think we need to start talking about practical solutions.
>> LUCA BELLI: Thanks for this, Parminder. The state has a difficult role to play in balancing this conflicted interest, political, social, economic interest, that are conflicting. What's in your view, the role that states should play, particularly in regard to investments in the developing markets?
>> PARMINDER SINGH: Okay, two responses to this, one is that, even in the U.S., there was not a gut feeling against regulation of the internet and organisations as libertarian like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, EFF. For Net Neutrality, we need some kind of regulation. I think that should be obvious. There's a combination in the market of conservation of market that can exist by the right kind of regulations. The internet is free for all which has cost us a lot. There's no Net Neutrality without regulation.
The second part, I think is that Net Neutrality is connected to the larger internet architecture. And...local, community networks, this implies infrastructure, itself, is part of that game. We have a Net Neutral internet. We talk about the architecture being a level playing field. Different infrastructure and regulation levels, they have importance, but we know the elephant in the room is that state's innate tendency to try to control the information in space and society, there has to be adequate safeguards in the state's tool. I wouldn't be able to go into details, if you categorize all of the state and the need of safeguards, we can go forward.
>> LUCA BELLI: Thanks, Parminder. Keeping and analyzing Human Rights and also for infrastructure enhancement. I'd like to go to Carolina, how does Net Neutrality bring simple effects and relates to network enhancement from a Human Rights perspective?
>> Carolina Rossini: Thank you, Luca, for the invitation. I'm Brazilian, and now I work, kind of part‑time in Brazil, part‑time in the U.S. with public knowledge. So, I think my relation here, it's, it's for us, who have been working in all the layers of internet, from infrastructure to the social layer, it's unclear how Human Rights impact all of that and how investment is done and should be regulated in all the layers, right? As you all guys know, Human Rights often emerge out of this struggle in social process in all levels. Right? Human Rights are universal and it's more than, it's more than freedom of expression and perhaps what we hear everyday. It's actually about cultural, economic and political rights. Even the right of self‑determination is part of that. When you think about mass communication and how that affects self‑determination, that's one of the connections there. But, I cannot explain that more.
But, in the market, how does this impact the market, right? So the big question in the market is always, what drives investment? Nowadays, in many markets, we need to understand, it's not, the question is simply not just what drives investment from economic point of view, but also, what values should be also elements in solving that question on what drives investment? And in our case, investment on infrastructure. Right?
We do have a very important role of state and of course, coming from Brazil, I have this perspective of the state as a strong investor on infrastructure. And why it came upon that, right?
So, for us, work with Human Rights, I think we need to understand how these values, how the Human Rights values should be balanced when devising a certain regulatory environment and they will, of course, weight differently in different countries and cultures, right? That's why I was giving the Brazilian example. Many times Human Rights, they actually bottom institutional rights, in Brazil, for example, the right to education is a, is a constitutional right, it's a constitutional guarantee or should have access to education and all should have access to self‑determination and cultural diversity and cultural dignity is also part of our constitution. We incorporate it in our core framework for all of our laws, which include the regulatory system, those rights.
So, how we can balance these things around. That's also true for other countries in Latin America.
>> LUCA BELLI: Thank you, Carolina. Can you elaborate on the role of states also? If there is room for state‑subsidized infrastructures?
>> CAROLINA ROSSINI: The companies in general do their own investment. They drive demand that pushes for infrastructure enhancement in many levels. Netflix is a clear case. We want fast films with Netflix. You don't have that if there's not infrastructure and if there are show points there. This is interest from public interest groups. We want to push for transparency in that. If there is a need, that need is real, it's not just a need for transparent show point.
So, Net Neutrality, we need that, exactly to prevent this ISB control on when and how the two investments are made and when and how we need this regulatory intervention. We need to be able to monitor and of course, if there is need for more investment, then we're going to negotiate as a society in each country, if it's going to be the government, the government, for example, builds roads, right? Builds a series of infrastructure, builds schools, distributes computers. We have in U.S. and Brazil, broad plans, so in Brazil, the government is setting a series of infrastructure all over the country. And actually, I would love to hear more, we have some colleagues here that do work on digital networks built by Sirius in U.S.
There's a role to allow that cultural diversity and self‑determination to happen. Anyway...so, my last message here to close is that if we have these fast lanes, right? These fast lanes that are not justifiable on data and transparent data, they, they're going to, we're going to have the risk to break, to destroy the free‑flow of information. The diverse cultural expression, which innovation is part of. Right? Innovation is, is expression of your own culture and, and your ability to innovate and of course, needs to be based on infrastructure.
In many cases, national identity, which also can increase the, the wealth, the racial and the gender gap. So, that's a little bit, my message and how all those things relate, thank you.
>> LUCA BELLI: Thanks, Carolina. As you were mentioning prioritization, I would like to ask you to elaborate a little bit on how prioritization and maybe also sender‑site based model, if you can stimulate them, use them and how can they affect network capacity.
>> Thanks, Luca, if you don't mind, I'm going to build into that a little bit. The first thing I want to say, in my perception, a prevalent fallacy in the developed world, that's that developments are mostly driven by the degree of regulation. I don't think that is true. I think the thing most‑driving it is competition.
I just want to put the emphasis on competition, rather than the degree of regulation. As the key factor in investment here. Most of my experiences in the developed world, I think competition is also very key in the developing world. Especially when your baseline is a single state‑run network operator, but I'll let my colleagues talk more about that. I wanted to sort of qualify and say most of my thoughts on this are based in the developed world.
So, with that background, my thesis is that Net Neutrality is a pro competition policy when done right. I'll get to that later. The reason I make that argument, Net Neutrality drives competition over the delivery of an open internet service. Drives competition to make that service faster, more reliable and cheaper. And the absence of Net Neutrality, a world where we have tolerable sender‑side payments for priority or other arrangements, it creates a world where there's a risk of competition over different things, so for things like who do you give priority to? Or who do you have a deal with? And some of those things are not as dependent on investment as competition over a faster and more reliable internet service.
So my assumption and my belief underline all of this. There is a way to do Net Neutrality that promotes competition through healthy exceptions for specialized services, reasonable network management and in the case of the U.S., through forbearance and tailored use of authority to get there. I know that's not a universally‑agreed position. That's where I come with this debate, I'm happy to talk about this more in question.
>> LUCA BELLI: You're also facing the need or not need for state sub decided networking announcement? In your perspective, would these kind of subsidies be useful or could be harmful and can harm the markets? Can reduce competition or, or would they be an interesting tool to, to better‑enhance and extend networks and network capacity?
>> I think this is definitely very different in different environments and to some degree, the role of the state is somewhat independent from Net Neutrality. State subsidy also, I think Parminder was alluding to this as well, there's a state involvement everywhere, it's a question of what and how much. State subsidies can take the form of tax incentives and facilitation of the cell tower siting and a host of other things that aren't really, there's a sliding scale here, all the way up to state provisioning and different solutions make sense, different environments.
I mean, there's a really open and interesting question in the United States now, which is, how do we get to the point where we encourage municipalities to take broadband into their own hands when they don't feel the market has been serving the needs of their citizens? And I think we've seen some really good experiments on that, in some parts of the United States. I think these things are fascinating and I think they're pro competitive when done right.
>> LUCA BELLI: Excellent. I'd like to go to Elvana to provide an overview of what the Council of Europe is doing to provide a recommendation to protect freedom of expression and right to privacy in the context of Net Neutrality? And then we'll elaborate a bit on how this can perhaps, affect, network enhancement.
>> ELVANA THACI: Thank you. Just an introduction of the organisation I come from. I work for the Council of Europe. Which is an intergovernmental organisation involved, including 47 European Member States. I work in the area of Policy Development on media and internet issues.
Before we address the question of investment and to, to what is the need for investment? I think we need to get the issue framing right. We need to frame the issue of Network Neutrality from the different perspectives that we come from.
And I will try to explain how we have framed the issue of Network Neutrality in the Council of Europe. For us, there is no doubt that there is a clear and a direct relationship between freedom of expression and Network Neutrality.
And the highest decision‑making body in the Council of Europe, that is the Committee of Ministers of the 47 Member States, has stated that interference with traffic management can have an impact on access to information of individuals.
And as an interference, with access to information, the right to freedom of expression, it has to meet three tests. It has to be legal, proportionate to the need that is, that is there, and to pursue a legitimate aim.
In 2012, we had a strong pronouncement from Strasburg, where the Council of Europe is based. The court there said the right to freedom of expression applies not only to the content of information, but also to the means of transmission of information. And there is a legal rationale for us to establish the link between Network Neutrality and the right to freedom of expression.
So, on that basis, we are now, developing guidelines for our Member States on policy guidelines for our Member States on Network Neutrality. And some of the principles that we are considering to include on, in those guidelines are nondiscrimination of content and services, of competitors, by internet service providers, of competitor, competitive services. Disassociation of content, of decision‑making on content from traffic management decision‑making.
And, another principle is that preferential treatment of content based on commercial arrangements shouldn't result in a negative, shouldn't negatively impact access to information that is generally and publically available.
And there is also a principle, which is still being considered and not endorsed yet by our Member States, but it's being considered to impose, must‑carry rules on Internet Service Providers so that content which meets general public interest on criteria is, is really available to the individuals.
So, I would like to consider this discussion from that, framing it from that perspective, and maybe if we get the framing right, then we, we also get towards a conclusion as to what the investment should be and what should the role of states be? So thanks.
>> LUCA BELLI: Excellent, thank you. A geographical perspective from the Council of Europe area to the EU area and to ask Michele to what extent does the current regulatory environment give room to the ISPs to address network enhancement and if anything should be changed?
>> MICHELE BELLAVITE: Thank you, Luca and thank you for the invitation. First, I'd like to say that I like to bring the perspective of European Telecom operators and this is influenced, to a large extent, by the recent proposal of the European Commission on Network Neutrality within the policy debate on the Telecom single matter of regulation. So my position would be influenced by recent developments.
I think the title of the workshop is very, very interesting because it, it, it gives us the possibility to link the Net Neutrality debate to infrastructure enhancement. So to move away from ideological position and more to the debate of developing infrastructure.
The situation we have today in the EU as Telecom operators, we are very regulated on the market side at wholesale level. We cannot really say that infrastructure development has been the main objective in terms of leaving the commercial freedoms to operators to invest in network development.
On the Net Neutrality side, I think that we have very, very largely, great principles, largely agreed to worldwide, in terms of defending users rights to access content and application of their choice. That's something taken for granted and something everybody agrees upon. And the fact that internet must be available to as many people as possible, so this principles are okay.
On the demand side, it gets more difficult. Because then, the big discussion is about how to define traffic management and how to avoid bad legislation and when we try to define a Network Neutrality principle, we try to sometimes create regulation for problems that do not exist.
So the idea is that once users rights are, once users rights are well‑defined in legislation and they are protected and authorities are empowered to intervene in case of infringement of user's rights, I think we have a good framework to let innovation and new business model emerge in the market.
If, with the intent of defending Net Neutrality, as it is, to some extent, happening now in the EU, policymakers try to intervene in the way companies and the market have to develop business models and block their ability to innovate and try to predefine the way the market should work, then, we enter into the case of bad legislation and this is something I think we should really avoid to an extent. If the objective is that of making the market grow, having internet available to everybody and the new services, new applications and innovation.
>> LUCA BELLI: Thank you for highlighting that one of the objectives is obviously to announce network availability, also to protect fundamental rights of users. It is very important to frame the debate rightly in order to understand how to enhance network.
So, given that you were speaking about the current debate in Europe, European Union level, which are according to your opinion, the main challenges that should be tackled and that, what do you recommend as an essential point to be discussed and further improved within this framework?
>> MICHELE BELLAVITE: As I said at the very beginning, my perspective is emphasized by the recent developments. We found ourselves confronted with a draft legislation that was proposed by the European Commission last year, which was something we liked when it was proposed because it was very forward‑looking and very pro market development. It has now undergone very tough intervention by the European Parliament, now negotiations are still on, but we see many, many risks in terms of bad legislation that would intervene in the way, first of all, by limiting companies ability to do specialized services. Network management and limit their ability to innovate and on the other hand, these risks to create a sort of legislative framework by way of a regulation that also impedes regulatory authorities and governments to intervene in specific cases of market failure or infringement of users rights and infringement of other aspects of the principle of Net Neutrality.
So defining by low, by means of strict regulation, the way the market should work is not good for companies that want to invest in networks and develop new services. Is also problem for implementing authorities that we find, will find themselves confronted with very strict regulation and it, this risk creates a case for big disputes in front of different levels of implementation which can be a nation of court European justice, infringements open by the European Commission, a great level of certainty, both for users and for market players.
>> LUCA BELLI: Excellent, thank you for these comments. I'm sure that some remarks can be made from the panel or for sure from the audience. If, maybe, do you, I think, Parminder has a remark from the panel and I will take a couple other remarks from the panel and then open the debate to the floor.
>> PARMINDER SINGH: Yeah, my comment is on the content of Europe's basic framing of the principles. I agree the idea is to first talk about framing of the issue and its effect.
Commercial preference of content should be subject to the constraint that it shouldn't reduce any publically‑available information or some variation of that, which actually introduced the concept of commercial preferential treatment in an explicit manner. I just want to understand why I heard it correct and you actually agreed that there could be commercial preferential treatment of content. Before we enter other domains, my colleague from the EU Telecom Operators Union said we were able to shift from ideological viewpoints. For me, I think that is the problem. Human Rights are ideological. There's no basis for ideological Human Rights.
We need to frame our debates to the society we want. We will see how to get it, but those principles, media pluralism, media freedom, quality education for all, these are issues which come before we talk about the market and the technologies of the issues.
First of all, for me, Net Neutrality is an ideological debate, thank you.
>> LUCA BELLI: Is there any reaction from the panel?
>> Yes, thank you from the question, the principle is that, yes, I think you heard it right, the principle that is being considered at the moment, is not yet finalized. I should underline that, preferential treatment of content is not prohibited, per se, but commercial arrangements for preferential treatment shouldn't have a negative impact on accessibility of information that is publically available otherwise.
So this is, in a nutshell, the principle that is being discussed and considered in the Council of Europe.
>> LUCA BELLI: Yes, Chris and then Nicolo.
>> CHRIS RILEY: I started to hear a direct connection between regulation and restriction of business models and they are all inherently bad and I just do not agree with that. I like the emphasis on Human Rights. I want to make an economic case as well, in pointing to the FCC's theory of the Virtuous Innovation Cycle. I forget the exact terminology for it. The neutral network facilitates people, ability to produce content, that, in turn, feeds back to demand for the internet access services and is that, in turn, stimulates investment into the network to supply for that demand and if we are talking about business models that interfere with that, I do think that there is a repercussion there for investment, for competition as well, and for the health of the internet ecosystem as a whole.
>> LUCA BELLI: Okay, Michele, do you have a reaction?
>> MICHELE BELLAVITE: I think I agree with your point. When I said we have to avoid other approaches, I didn't mean that we do not have to look at fundamental rights, and things like you say, media pluralisms, access to everybody, open internet, ability to access content application of the customer's choice, that's taken for granted and I think that sometimes we lose the perspective that consumers are our market. So...we are firstly, in the first place, interested for more and more people to access and to use more and more bandwidth. That's our main, main goal, basically, to keep our market going. That's for sure.
When I said ideological, I mean that we find ourselves confronted with debate where regulation tries to find a solution to a problem that doesn't exist, by thinking that, in our case, for example, it might be the case for other players along the value chain, that we may do, we may have bad behavior and they want to fix something the way we should work and make the market and do business models because there is a preconception on the idea that we might behave badly. If we behave bad, we have authorities to come and check our behavior and fix it in some way, that was my idea of being ideological, doing regulation in a way where you try to look for a problem that doesn't actually exist because it's not been proven. I know Luca probably doesn't agree that much, but that's my point of view.
>> LUCA BELLI: Just refer to the report on traffic management, for information on the problems of traffic management. Now I just want, I'd like to open the debate, I see there are a lot of people interested.
>> Thank you very much, thank you for this very interesting workshop. I didn't resist, I tried, but I didn't, really.
We have to be very careful not to mix up the things. Because, one issue is the issue of the networks and the discussion of Net Neutrality. The other issue is access to information which is a very important issue. And maybe we should focus much more on this rather than the problem of the network. With the network, the problem is not to have access, but there are other issues to discuss.
Let me focus a little bit and to be provocative on access to information. Because, let's invent a new, a new word. Information Neutrality. If we look today, and I would ask the panelists and maybe also the participants to the workshop, if the idea is that all the city of them should have the right to have access to all the information, we should start to jump into the issue of what kind of information they should have the right. Today, the system on the internet, which is done by publishers and internet provider, is a premium.
So, we have a certain kind of content that is free and accessible, other, you have to pay. What we do with that? There are some citizens that cannot afford to pay for content, to have access to the information. Even basic information.
So, I think we, we focus too much on network, which we can discuss this, we are speaking about the ability to differentiate, to have better quality and new services, from what the Council of Europe was saying, their focus on access to information, which has nothing to do with the debate on, on Net Neutrality versus network management.
So, I think what kind of right we believe the citizens should have? So we want, that all the information should be free on internet? All the citizens should have right. Why, I cannot afford to have access? Such kind of discussion would be also very interesting to develop further.
>> LUCA BELLI: Yes. Thank you. Some traffic management practices do have an impact on accessing information. We can ask for Elvana's reaction on this?
>> ELVANA THACI: I don't think we're discussing here what rights citizens have. The rights that citizens have are already determined in binding international law.
For example, in the European Convention on Human Rights, they have a right to freedom of expression. That applies regardless of mediums, that applies regardless of frontiers. So that question is ‑‑ is not, is not, the issue, whether citizens have the right to information is not up for question. This is a recognized right in legally‑binding instruments.
>> Could you let her finish?
>> The right to information is not right.
>> I'm saying that ‑‑
>> There is one there and there ‑‑
>> Thank you.
>> I didn't finish. I didn't finish ‑‑
>> Please, let her finish ‑‑
>> Please, finish and then we can take the questions there.
>> ELVANA THACI: So individuals have a right to access the information and that is a legally binding instruments, you can go to a court, actually in every jurisdiction and seek remedy if your right to freedom of expression has been violated and access to information. We're not discussing that question.
The question we are discussing is the link between access to information and access to infrastructure and network. And the European Court of Human Rights has clearly stated there is a direct link between the right to information and the means of transmission of information. The right to information applies the means of transmission of information.
So, this is the point I'd like to stress here.
>> LUCA BELLI: I think there are a lot of questions. I'd like to take three questions and have some reaction from the panel. Gentleman, then here.
>> Audience: Hello. I think we need to make a difference here between services that are provided as a service so that they're a public good. That is you know, licensed and there is basically a concession from the government from services that are built up and they are offered for free or you know, by a subscription. It's not that we're deviating the conversation here from the main topic that has to do with access. I think that we can talk about accessing information and all the challenges that we are facing, you know, even from an intermediary perspective or from the people that want to access information, but, I don't think this is the issue here right now.
>> LUCA BELLI: Thank you.
>> Audience: Question for Carolina on Brazil. Please address infrastructure situation in Brazil. I know you framed this in terms of operators and regulators, but deploying infrastructure is really a community activity which takes in municipalities, property landlords and so on.
In the case of Brazil, you have 5,500 municipalities, over 250 rules and regulations that you have to comply with if you want to deploy a national network. The Brazilian regulator has recognized operators could earn more if they could have more coverage and Brazilian consumers are willing to pay more.
The challenge is getting over the regulations that are there today. Please address. Quickly on Marco Civil, the rule, requiring data remains for a period of time, remains more ideals about privacy and security. And also Marco Civil gives untold power to the Executive Branch to define neutrality and regulations.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, from Telefonica. I want to focus my question on regulation between network deployment and Net Neutrality. The question here is, the proposal for regulation of Net Neutrality, will not enable the specialized services if they somehow hamper the, the internet access service. This will mean that services, such as Voice Over LTE, VOLTE or IPTV will not be provided by Telecom. For example, the Google service could hamper the internet access service.
My question is, would Google have to deploy its Google fiber, if it were not allowed to offer the Google TV service?
>> LUCA BELLI: Thanks for the questions. Reactions and then we'll get more questions after. Who would like to go first? Carolina?
>> CAROLINA ROSSINI: I'll go very briefly and just for transparency of my background, I worked at Telefonica for seven years before going to academia and Civil Society. I worked for them in Brazil and actually wrote many of those contracts and so there, are two issues in Brazil, right? We finally have approved Marco Civil after seven years of negotiation. I'm happy to share that information with you. The principle of Net Neutrality is there. There'll be a public consultation starting hopefully after the elections, but of course, both authorities have a stack of reports under their arms. We hopefully, through CGI Brazil, we're going to start building also the position of CGI, because both will inform the decision of the executive to the decree, Net Neutrality in Brazil.
Because we're in this transition moment there, are a number of things that you pointed out very well, I don't know if that's the correct word, but a fragmented regulation. Brazil does have federated systems and different bodies have different issues. At the city level, the regulation is much more based on where and how you can deploy infrastructure, but not what happens with that infrastructure. I would hope that, I'm not sure if CAGI is prepared for that yet. In terms of that, I do think they are also at odds with some of the Human Rights issues, but again, I think with the Human Rights regulation, we're going to have that under debate again, to understand exactly how that can benefit some populations in Brazil and how that cannot and at some point, we hope that population, those groups, right? All of us, actually, in Brazil, that engage with this, have a clear choice if we have a clear transparency of what that means and if that does hinder or not, their access to information and other Human Rights I addressed here. I think we have a duty here to actually raise awareness, and really push the button on transparency to enable the country to make decisions on what makes sense for us based on rights established in Brazil.
That's a little bit, how she said, the context where this discussion is going to happen in Brazil. Thank you.
>> LUCA BELLI: Some reactions on the questions?
>> CHRIS RILEY: I wanted to respond. I'm very happy to acknowledge that for many carriers, the ability to offer multiple services over the same essential connection is key to their value proposition. I think that's been demonstrated by a lot of different carriers in the past. I think we can work this out. I think we can make these things work properly together. When you're talking about DOCSIS 3 or fiber on the fixed side, talking about LTE and LTE advanced in mobile, there's a lot of capacity in that pipe. I think there's a way to support, at the same time, separate specialized services, services that I would probably not call specialized services like IPTV and voice over LTE and an open internet connection, all in the same pipe, all without interfering with the use of the open internet access service in the way that proponents of Net Neutrality would like. Thank you for raising that. I think it's an important thing. I think we should talk about it more in the U.S. We're not talking about it very much. I know it's talked about a fair amount in Europe, but we need to be talking about that more.
>> LUCA BELLI: One question here, one there and one there.
>> AUDIENCE: Hi, with Comcast Corporation, the largest ISP in the U.S. More of a question or comment to Chris, I think from Mozilla. I have an economics and legal background and one of the things that I've sort of really been, wondered about, you know, sort of noticing that Net Neutrality debate there, are so many lawyers and engineers, and very few economists involved. I think that's a telling thing. I come from both worlds. You kind of look at things differently. On your point about investment not being affected by regulation, there's a lot of research that, it's affected, the regulations are less important, I think, so, there's a lot of research that shows that macroeconomic affects, aggregate demand and other things and also the laws and regulations. They both interact to work and there is some research that shows the economic effects. Others show the laws and regulations are important.
I think one of the reasons why Comcast has and continues to support the 2010 opening of net rules that FCC put out, we're actually bound by them and we hope that the commission will, through this round, come out with a policy that's enforceable so we can move on from this to other issues.
The reason why we support that is because we think that those rules balance the very complicated issues. That's what the economic profession, sort of bias, trains you to do. You look at issues and try to balance things. The doctrine here, one doesn't work, the other one's good, the other one's bad.
My question is, do you see that we could somehow, do you see that the Net Neutrality debate has sort of moved away from the balancing of equal jobs in investment and Net Neutrality and Human Rights issue to being doctrinares? How do we get it back on track to get something enforceable and good for the people and move onto other issues.
>> LUCA BELLI: We'll take the other questions. I think you had a question?
>> AUDIENCE: I'm surprised this panel doesn't have economists. We might have somebody that could push back against assertions made by engineers and technical experts. Christopher, you, for example, have been here at the conference. He's done research showing clearly that the regulations in Europe that resemble title two in the United States have in fact retarded broadband deployment. There's other research in the United States that shows after the 1992 Cable Act, we saw a slow investment in broadband. In 1996, when the USD regulated the market and under the leadership of Bill Clinton's chairman Bill Kennard, we saw him move away from the traditional model of open access. That encouraged competition in the United States. There's more we could do to encourage that as Roslyn mentioned, the barriers to deployment are red tape, lack of smart infrastructure.
We could be talking about all of these things, instead, it seems that this panel is really designed to suggest that Net Neutrality regulations and how promotes infrastructure investment, I don't really see any evidence of that.
My questions are, number one for Luca, what made you think this was a balanced approach to this issue? Did you not consider having people from the other side? Nice of you to have one carrier there, but businesses are always reluctant to say too much and to defend themselves, so, what made you think this was a balanced panel? And in the future, will you not include those with U.S. experience?
My second is for Chris, I would agree there's much states can do to lower barriers to deployment, but wouldn't you prefer that we have a model where government encourages investment as much as it can? Build smart infrastructure, like putting up poles and dig conduits, but leave it to the private sector to deal with, like for example, Google fiber, deployed in several cities in the United States, yes, they offer a video product because that's not subject to heavy regulation in the United States, but they chose not to offer a voice product because that is subject to heavy regulation, what we call title two. So what lessons do you take from Google fiber's experience?
>> LUCA BELLI: Thanks, last question, and then reactions.
>> AUDIENCE: Good morning, I'd like to just give complementary information about Marco Civil. I'm from Brazil and from a Consumers Association. And one of four representatives of CBIGR. It's important to consider that the regulation process of Marco Civil will be about the Net Neutrality principle. Ensuring freedom of expression, access to information and privacy. It's important to consider that neutrality, as a principle and as a right. And according Marco Civil, the decision, BIBR and the regulatory organisation in Brazil should be involved in the regulatory process of deception of the neutrality and this decision offers the opportunity of including the Civil Society participation under the debate because CGI is a moot stakeholder entity.
There'll also be public consultations to enforce the regulatory decree and this is, and this, in order to attribute legitimacy and democracy to the process. How, like, Carolina said, after, thank you.
>> LUCA BELLI: Before reactions, then the next round of questions, I will abuse my position of LUCA BELLI to directly reply to the question on the panel. Everyone who has organised a workshop for the IGF knows there are specific criteria to respect about gender balance, about geography, about stakeholder balance, unfortunately, economies are not considered one of the stakeholders, but I will suggest we include these as a stakeholder category. There's always room for improvement, so next time we will make sure that an economist is here and finally, this panel, this workshop was initially organised through a collaborative process on a mailing list, so anyone would have been able to suggest, as economies and if you want to be our economist, you want to be our economist at the next IGF, be our guest and I hope the remarks to the rest of the panel, thanks.
>> CHRIS RILEY: I'll go next. The gentleman from Comcast, I may need you to get you to repeat your question after the workshop. But, I liked the way that you approached that and your emphasis on balance. I feel almost as if you and I were applying a very similar framework in how we were thinking about this, we just might come to different places about where the right balance lies. I thought your comments were very productive and I'd like to talk more and maybe get more into your question.
And then to the several things you raised, the 1992 Cable Act wasn't about Network Neutrality. It's not about wholesale access. It's, it's, it, so a lot of the deregulatory things related to access that you say stimulate competition, which I think is probably exactly accurate, that's not what we're talking about. I thought you would have loved my emphasis on competition. Competition is the key thing we're driving for here. I'm sorry you didn't. You sited a lot of economic research, you didn't site the Free to Invest paper and makes the arguments I've been making to a greater degree from economists at NYU. I appreciate your point on government running infrastructure. I love the idea of government putting conduits and poles and opening access to these and allowing private sector to tap into these. My point about government was as a competition for the existing private sector broadband operators and again, it comes from the perspective of the United States where we really do have pretty good private sector deployment and municipalities are emerging as competition to the private sector entities and are not really taking over anything in any sense.
I'd also love to see if the gentleman from Comcast agrees with your point about video not being heavily‑regulated service. I doubt he would agree with that.
>> LUCA BELLI: Michelle or Carolina, do you have replies to that? Okay, next question. Gentleman here and then there, please, go ahead.
>> AUDIENCE: Thank you for this very interesting panel and I must say, if we want to consider the economists as a protected species, that'd be an exception. There are economists depending on which side of the economy you come from. If you have an economist, please consider being diverse about it and providing neutrality among the economists.
Now the question I really have, you know, we could look at the issue of Net Neutrality in the sense of access to rights and so on and so forth, but if we look at it purely, the technical plane, that the basic network must be neutral to whatever travels above it and without wondering what is the content of it, that's one way of looking at Net Neutrality, which is specifically looking only at the monopoly issue. I would submit that when you look at competition as the only issue, that there's a problem, that a lot of economic issues, not economic arguments coming back to economists would argue that there is no demand until you create the infrastructure.
So therefore, if we think that demand creates infrastructure, that's the way to drive investment, we could argue that investments are driven first, in particular infrastructure, which is an externality, and only then services are provided and then we'd really need to think about why do we want to stop at only the poles or the holes, why don't we say the fiber and provide services above it? Why don't we think about public investment and infrastructure the way we do for roads?
>> LUCA BELLI: I think there was another question and then some reactions.
>> Chris Mitchell: From the United States, one of the observations we've seen, is that the best networks, the fastest speeds are built by the second and third providers in the market. It's Google fiber, Sonic, a company in California, a number of municipalities who build networks, in addition to a cable and DSL network and it's important to note, these are networks built with investor funds almost always, not public dollars, but I'm curious if this trend, all of these providers respect Network Neutrality, they're clear about it.
I'm curious if we see, in other countries, I'm asking the panel, where the most investment in the next generation networks comes not from incumbents, but from others who are more interested and more inclined to respect Network Neutrality.
>> LUCA BELLI: Okay, do we have some reaction from the panel? Parminder?
>> PARMINDER SINGH: I tried to answer the last question about other countries, whether more investment is coming, not from the incumbents. In India, I think we had a much more diversified ISP scenario a few years earlier and there has been a concentration of internet service provision among the major Telcos rather than new providers coming on.
>> LUCA BELLI: Excellent, if we don't have any other reaction, I think there will be more questions. I see one there and there.
>> AUDIENCE: From the European Broadcasting Union. Access from the network, to the access network. It almost never states what happens behind access network. I'd like to see what the role of internet exchanges would be and you have some countries like Sweden having like five internet exchanges. How do you see more Net Neutrality there? Or is it more easy to get access to content? What is the relation between the connectivity to those open access points? These kind of questions I think should also be interesting.
>> LUCA BELLI: Excellent, do we have other questions? Roslyn, maybe you have a question?
>> AUDIENCE: There's a movement among Telecom regulators that are transitioning to developmental strategies to broadband. There has been, to date, the kind of, we might call regulatory approach to broadband where we regulate networks, but now regulators are beginning to understand that just measuring networks by speed, deployment, it's not really what matters in a country, it's really about using broadband in productive ways. How do you, how does it increase employment, education, these kinds of things.
So we've actually seen a number of European governments who are shifting their strategies to development strategies. Even in the case of Denmark, which dismantled the Telecom regulator because they realized that regulating the networks wasn't key, but focused on broadband at the enabler to society.
So what this means, they pursue a technology‑neutral market letter approach, the operators invest at one of the highest rates in Europe. You have one of the utility companies involved. It's also been a, this is an amount that's as high as what the government spends on railroads, hospitals and roadways.
I'd like to say, any thoughts about regulatory approaches that are more holistic, than instead of looking at let's just measure you know, wires and towers and things, why aren't we measuring the holistic measures in the economy about things like broadband‑enabled employment, education, those sorts of things?
>> LUCA BELLI: Excellent questions. I think we have reactions from Michele and ‑‑
>> MICHELE BELLAVITE: Thank you very much, super interesting point. We have been working a lot, as European Telecom operators with European institutions and amongst ourselves to try and, really try and think about how to measure broadband dividends to see how this can help the population and try to propose new ways of looking at the broadband market when we talk about universal service, universality of access.
So yes, that would be something we'd be working on. I think we have found good feedback from regulators, especially from Barack on this point. I hope we continue to work in this way, definitely something we have to look at more and more.
And going back to one question that was raised before, on investment from, yes, exactly, from new commerce or competitors, rather than incumbents, indeed we will have kept investing, we keep investing, global investment from other members keep growing, so we keep investing money. It's clear that competition produces this kind of a fact. If you want to compete, you will invest in a better infrastructure and you will be able to compete.
But today, if we go back for a second to the title of the workshop which is super interesting from my point of view, if we link the Net Neutrality debate to network enhancement, we really have to look at how market can develop today and in the future with new business model and new services that can be priced to customers, customers will have good quality of services and will be ready, in return, to pay money for that.
And that's, that's the way we have to think because like broadband penetration is going down. Broadband markets are not exploding as they were ten years ago. Much the same is true for mobile markets. Everybody now has a SmartPhone, so we have to work, no more on penetration and spreading access, but work on the top level on good quality of services. If you block that level, then you really, you block the level by regulation and impeding companies to develop new business models, then you really hamper the possibility also for consumers to have better services.
And I think sometimes, the problem that we have when we look at Net Neutrality as Telecom operators, we get money for our services, we price access, we price traffic and we price access to the networks where other services are free.
So maybe we are looking in a much, we're looked in a bad way because we ask for money for our services, but if we have to invest in infrastructures, we have to find money somehow, some way. That's the way it works. Why for free services to get money from other markets? We look like the bad guys than others, but we need to get over this. I think we have been discussing with, over the top players for long now and there is ground to work together and to agree on basic principles and to move ahead again from this discussion Net Neutrality and link it to more concrete things.
>> CAROLINA ROSSINI: Just a comment, I think nobody thinks infrastructure comes from out of nowhere. But...our point is, we need transparency to understand how the investment is made, was made. How do you say in accounting, things already get paid, itself, I forgot the term. Depreciation. And those types of information, that type of information is really important. That's going to determine what folks actually need to pay. For example, if you see the contract of Netflix in the U.S., the moment they accept your pay, the speed went up. The capacity was there. They didn't need money to invest anymore on enhancing the capacity. What is going on there? We just need data and better understanding on the costs of this value chain.
>> LUCA BELLI: Parminder and then Chris.
>> PARMINDER SINGH: Yeah, I agree with the comments, the regulators, the traditional Telecom regulators need to start thinking beyond measuring access and quality. Internet is unlike the traditional telephones which is a very clear, you know, single dimensional thing. Internet is very social, basically. Internet is developmental. We need to be talking about what is actually happening in the society and regulating from that viewpoint. It may soon end after this point, yes, it should be social, but what happens afterwards, my conceptions are different. In, in the market, actually spent through the system because they found that's a better way to go. But I'd say in this case, the regulator becomes more socially conscious. How the health system works, this informs the way they think about internet infrastructure. Much of the benefits are going to come in the future and public investments are needed.
You want, you need to bring social developmental thinking to the regulator, but that, for me, could make different kinds of changes, but what you're suggesting, a loft social and public investments coming that probably, the public health system, that kind of thinking. The point I'm agreeing on, is basically, yes, the regulators cannot take the traditional access quality kind of approach, but it has to be social and developmental approach to what internet does in the society, come back and then regulate or not regulate the internet from that perspective.
>> LUCA BELLI: I think Chris had reaction and then more questions from the floor.
>> CHRIS RILEY: I heard an echo of the old Ed Whitaker "I'm not letting Google use my pipes for free" comment. My response was to paraphrase what [indiscernible] said at his opening remarks yesterday morning. He said the history of the internet is everybody pays for their access to the internet and then there are some payments among transit providers and others and so forth.
But what we're talking about here are payments for terminating access at the other end of the internet. That's something that's extremely categorically different in the effects that it has, the externalities that it has, how you manage it and it's not, it's not the same thing. It's not that Google is using pipes for free at the other end of the connection. Google pays for its access just as the users pay for theirs. These are just really different concepts. Paying for terminating access after the internet is a fundamentally new and different and concerning thing.
>> LUCA BELLI: Thank you, I think there are three questions. One, two and three.
>> AUDIENCE: Yes, thank you. I like the debate here and on the previous speaker on quality, I think we have to keep in mind that speed is not the only determinantor for quality, there are other things. I'm not going into like quality of service or front lines, you can think of things like IPv6 and better security. I think there's a role there, especially for Civil Society. For the average user, yes, the mark‑up will be the speed and maybe collaboratively find other determinantors and find a way to mark those and market those through the users so they can make a better‑informed choice of what constitutes a quality internet connection and not only look at this is 100 megabit and this is 150 megabit.
>> LUCA BELLI: Excellent point.
>> AUDIENCE: I have two questions. The first one is, something that has been said very briefly about the specialized services. In Argentina, currently, one commission at the center is discussing a Net Neutrality law, Net Neutrality regulation. That commission, following in some way, the model framework we translated into Spanish. Excluding specialized service for the Net Neutrality provisions, in the way that the model framework did, but the problem is, they didn't define.
>> LUCA BELLI: I think there was a final question from Josh.
>> AUDIENCE: Can you hear me? I hear this comment a lot from people that are not supporters of Net Neutrality. Look at varying definitions of Net Neutrality. They can never agree on what the definition is. I'd like to say that there's like 95% agreement among advocate with Net Neutrality in there. 5%, there's a lot of nuance in there, but it's a rhetorical strategy ‑‑
>> That's absolutely not correct and it's disingenuous for you to say that.
>> What's being discussed on the panel is a mix of Net Neutrality on one hand and public utilization on the other. That's a complete failure in the United States. Bill Kennard led investment policy in the United States. Realized that model was a failure. We need to move to a model where we encourage comes to go out and build infrastructure. The debate we're having in the U.S. at this point is no longer about Net Neutrality, it's about whether we're going to return to public utility infrastructure under the model of title two. Under the dilution that it allows the FCC to ban paid prioritization, which is doesn't, but Bob is right here, it's not a discussion about Net Neutrality, it's about how you regulate the basic infrastructure and what the role of government is.
>> That should also be part of the Net Neutrality debate.
>> It's a bait and switch to suggest that if you're in favour of Net Neutrality, you have to be in favour of public utility regulation.
>> LUCA BELLI: Thank you, if you don't have any final remarks, I'd like to close the debate. We're running out of time. Thanks a lot for your, for your perspectives, for your participation, for your excellent remarks and questions and see you at the main session on Net Neutrality.
[Meeting concluded at 4:30 a.m. CT].
This is the output of the real-time captioning taken during the IGF 2014 Istanbul, Turkey, meetings. Although it is largely accurate, in some cases it may be incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors. It is posted as an aid to understanding the proceedings at the session, but should not be treated as an authoritative record.