Avoiding Internet Fragmentation
International Legal Perspectives
Institute of International Studies, University of Chile.
- Ignacio Sánchez González, Institute of International Studies - University of Chile, Academia, GRULAC.
- Ignacio Sánchez González, Institute of International Studies - University of Chile, Academia, GRULAC (onsite).
- Javiera Cáceres Bustamante, Institute of International Studies - University of Chile; London School of Economics, Academia, GRULAC (online).
- Felipe Muñoz Navia, Institute of International Studies - University of Chile, Academia, GRULAC (online).
- Piero Guasta Leyton, Undersecretariat of International Economic Relations - Chile, Government, GRULAC (online).
- Olga Cavalli, National Director of Cybersecurity - Secretariat of Technological Innovation - Argentina, Government, GRULAC (onsite).
- Raquel Gatto, NIC .br, Technical community, GRULAC (onsite).
- Dilmar Villena Fernández Baca, Hiperderecho, Civil society, GRULAC (onsite).
Ignacio Sánchez González
Javiera Cáceres Bustamante
Felipe Muñoz Navia
Targets: SDG 9 ("Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure") focuses on building resilient infrastructure, promoting sustainable industrialization, and fostering innovation, the access to the Internet and digital infrastructure is critical for businesses to operate, innovate and grow. To this respect, the academic research on net neutrality principle seeks to determine whether it ensures a level playing field for all businesses regardless of their size, location, or type, and would promote fair competition, which is essential for sustainable industrialization. Regarding SDG 4 ("Quality Education"), the aim of the objective is to ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all. Specially during the COVID-19 pandemic schools and universities have had to shift to online learning, which increased the demand for reliable and affordable Internet access. Also, the amount of data dedicated to learning activities increased exponentially, questioning whether the principle of net neutrality holds, as one may prioritize this kind of content over other. Hence, the analysis of the application of the net neutrality principle in the context of a COVID-19 pandemic recuperation is essential to ensure the achievement of the SDGs, as it may contribute to the development of sustainable infrastructure, promotes innovation, and ensures equitable access to the Internet, but also limit policy space in times of crisis.
(1) Presentation by the authors of the research about the regulation and exceptionality of net neutrality in LAC and Asia Pacific, (2) comments from invited IG stakeholders and (3) questions from the audience.
Focusing on Avoiding Internet Fragmentation, the research of the University of Chile on net neutrality in the the Pacific Alliance, APEC and ASEAN, which has been developed within the framework of the UNESCAP and UNCTAD call on "Unleashing digital trade and investment for sustainable development", will be presented. Subsequently, stakeholders from the technical community, civil society and public sector will comment on the findings.
The session is designed to present the topic and the findings from an academic perspective, and then to hear the views of invited actors from the technical community and the public sector. Thus, attendees will learn about different perspectives from a multistakeholder perspective and will be able to ask questions or make comments on equal terms, with the assistance of the onsite and online moderators.
-Most of the panelists agree on the importance of net neutrality to safeguard an open and equal Internet in terms of the operability of digital trade.
-Certain elements accompanying the principle of net neutrality were highlighted, such as dispute resolution and the rights of internet users and consumers.
-Consideration should be given to how to promote more active monitoring of compliance with the principle of net neutrality.
-The Pacific Alliance showed interest in this session and requested a presentation on net neutrality in order to discuss further developments in the framwork of the Subcommittee on Digital Economy (SCED) of the Pacific Alliance meeting in November 2023.
This session organized by the University of Chile achieved a multistakeholder participation with a special focus on the perspectives of the Global South in relation to the principle of net neutrality. It had wide participation of Academia, Government, Technical community and Civil society.
In this regard, participants were able to learn about the experience of both the members of the Pacific Alliance and the regional integration forum itself.
Panelists discussed Chile's experience in being the first country in the world to legislate the principle of net neutrality, and then Peru, Colombia and Mexico followed the trend, managing to establish the legal presence of the principle within the Alliance.
Subsequently, the incorporation of net neutrality in the Pacific Alliance Trade Protocol in its Telecommunications Chapter was discussed, establishing an important precedent in the area of public international law and international economic law.
Panelists from academia (Chile), the technical community (Brazil), government (Chile and Argentina) and civil society (Perú) discussed the importance and challenges of the principle, mainly in terms of protecting users' rights and the necessary monitoring of compliance.