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Network Neutrality: Towards a Common Understanding of a Complex Issue
 Welcome to the United Nations | Department of Economic and Social Affairs

[Link to Schedule]          [Link to Session Transcript]          [Link to Session Video]


Day 2 (3 September), 14.30 - 17.30, Main Meeting Hall


The debate on network neutrality has flared up in recent months. Net neutrality was one of the most controversial issues at the NETmundial Conference, held in Sao Paulo in April 2014. At NETmundial there were “diverging views  as to whether or not to include the specific term as a principle in the outcomes”  . However, NETmundial participants agreed on the need to continue the discussion regarding network neutrality and recommended this discussion “be addressed at forums such as the IGF”.

NETmundial was a landmark event of Internet Governance in 2014 and its decision to identify the IGF as an appropriate forum to further discuss an Internet Governance policy issue such as net neutrality, was a significant outcome to affirm the important role of the IGF.

The NETmundial outcome document – the NETmundial Multistakeholder Statement -  has set up a useful framework for further discussions of net neutrality:

"Net neutrality:  [...] It is important that we continue the discussion of the Open Internet including  how  to  enable  freedom  of expression, competition, consumer choice, meaningful transparency and appropriate network management and recommend that this be addressed at forums such as the next IGF."

The session will take the NETmundial wording as the basis for its discussion. Main objective of the session is to explore the various facets of the network neutrality debate and foster a common understanding of these issues. It will look at a set of agreed policy questions from five different perspectives:

1.            Technical perspectives

2.            Economic perspectives

3.            End-user perspectives

4.            Regulatory and legislative perspectives

5.            A developmental perspective.

It will also look at previous workshops held in the IGF context as well as other international developments which have contributed to the debate:

•              The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is currently elaborating rules about the future of the "Open Internet";

•              The European Parliament adopted its First Reading of a new Regulation on the Single Telecoms Market enshrining new net neutrality provisions;

•              The Council of Europe is working on a draft recommendation by the Committee of Ministers to its 47 member states on protecting and promoting the right to freedom of expression and the right to private life with regard to network neutrality.

•              Brazil officially adopted the "Marco Civil" with strong provisions for network neutrality; and, lastly,

•              The Dynamic Coalition on Network Neutrality developed its own understanding which fed into a Model Framework on Network Neutrality, initiated by the Council of Europe.

The Session, among other issues, will address the following policy questions:

•              How to ensure freedom of expression and other social, economic and cultural rights.

•              How to ensure end-to-end consumer choice and unfettered access to the Internet, enabling consumers to access all legal content.

•             How to ensure requisite network transparency

•              How to ensure competition among over-the-top providers. This cluster of issues also includes media consolidation and related questions.

•             How to define what is considered appropriate network management.

Other questions may be added to the list as a result of the IGF Secretariat’s call for public input.



Mr. Galip Zerey , Board Member, Information and Communications Technologies Authority, Turkey



The session is conceived as an interactive discussion. It will be divided into three segments with three discussion leaders for each segment, looking at technical, economic, end-user, social and human rights perspectives. Regulatory and development perspectives will be dealt with as cross-cutting issues.

There will be pre-notified discussants for each segment with one overall moderator who will act as a master of ceremony.

Regulatory perspectives

Commissioner Mignon Clyburn, US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will be given the opportunity to provide regulatory perspectives in opening remarks.

Segment 1:  Technical perspectives

Discussion leaders:

-          Robert Pepper, Vice President for Global Technology Policy, Cisco, Washington DC, United States

-          Renata Avila, Lawyer, Lead of Creative Commons Guatemala, Guatemala City


-          Bram Tullemans , European Broadcasting Union, Geneva, Switzerland

-          Sally Wentworth, Vice President, Global Policy Development, Internet Society, Reston, United States

Development perspectives

-          Prabir Purkayastha, Delhi Science Forum / Free Software Movement of India, Delhi, India

-          Adam Peake, Researcher, GLOCOM, Tokyo, Japan

-          Alejandro Pisanty, Professor, National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico.

Regulatory perspectives

-          Ahmet Darıcı, Head of Tariffs and Interconnection Department, ICTA, Ankara, Turkey

Segment 2:  Economic perspectives

Discussion leaders:

-          Vladimir Radunovic, Coordinator of e-diplomacy educational and training programmes, DiploFoundation, Belgrade, Serbia

-          Pablo Bello, Secretary General, Latin American Association of Research, Centers and Telecommunication Enterprises (AHCIET), Montevideo, Uruguay

-          Bocar A. Ba, CEO, SAMENA Telecommunications Council, Dubai, United Arab Emirates


-          Andrew McDiarmid, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Democracy and Technology, Washington DC, United States

-          Erkan Akdemir, CEO, Avea, Istanbul, Turkey

-          Scott McCollough, McCollough|Henry PC / Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2C) and Cloud Providers, Austin, United States

-          Christopher S. Yoo, Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer and Information Science, University of Pennsylvania Law School, Philadelphia, United States

Development perspectives

-          Roslyn Layton, Ph.D. Fellow, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark

-          George Fong, Executive Director, Lateral Plains / President, Internet Society of Australia, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia

Segment 3: End-user, social and human rights perspectives

Discussion leaders:

-          Carolina Rossini, Vice President for International Policy, Public Knowledge, Washington DC, United States

-          Rajan Mathews, Director General, Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI), New Delhi, India

-          Elvana Thaçi, Administrator, Information Society and Action Against Crime Directorate, Directorate General I -Human Rights and Rule of Law, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France


-          Luca Belli, Agent, Council of Europe / Dynamic Coalition on Net Neutrality, Strasbourg, France

-          Dominique Lazanski, Policy Director, GSMA, London, United Kingdom

-          Amelia Andersdotter, Politician, former Member of the European Parliament, Stockholm, Sweden

-          Berin Szoka, President, TechFreedom, Washington DC, United States

Development perspectives

-          Ephraim Percy Kenyanito, Policy Fellow, Access, Eldoret, Kenya

-          Claudio Ruiz, Executive Director, Derechos Digitales, Santiago de Chile, Chile

Overall moderator

Markus Kummer, Senior Vice President, Internet Society, Geneva, Switzerland


Remote moderator

John Walubengo, Dean, Faculty of Computing & IT, Multimedia University of Kenya (MMU), Nairobi, Kenya


Feeder workshops

Meeting of the Dynamic Coalition on Network Neutrality, 2 September, 11:00 - 12:30

WS 208 "Net Neutrality, Zero-Rating & Development: What's the Data?" , 3 September, 9:00 - 10:30

WS 172 "Network Neutrality: a Roadmap for Infrastructure Enhancement" , 3 September, 11:00 - 12:30

Policies for Enabling Broadband: Special Focus on OTTs and Level Playing Fields, 4 September, 11.00 - 12.30