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Tag Archives: net neutrality

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Technology Photo of Falk Schoening

What blockchain can learn from the net neutrality debate: antitrust and regulatory aspects of “paid prioritization” for a nascent technology

First come, first served. That’s not the principle behind the clearance of Bitcoin transactions. Equally for other blockchain technology networks, the relevant factor to get a transaction on the next available block is not time, but often: money. “Paid prioritization” is a reality. Miners will first pick and clear those transactions which will most highly reward them. Is this a problem? Not necessarily. As long as users have plenty of alternatives in the fields of cryptocurrency or smart contracts they can just use different networks. However, in the medium or

Posted in Copyright, Data Protection & Privacy, Policy & Regulation, Technology

Live webinar: On March 17 academic all-stars debate the hottest topics in Tech

In a March 17 live stream webinar, a panel of academic all-stars will discuss the key legal and tech trends for 2017, including regulation of artificial intelligence, the disruptive potential of blockchain, competition law and big data, global privacy and copyright trends, and the future of net neutrality.  Our panel will also share insights into the tech priorities of the Trump administration, and key China developments. Hogan Lovells partner and former FTC Commissioner, Julie Brill, will chair the panel, which includes Joshua Gans, author of “The Disruption Dilemma”, Phil Weiser,

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Falk Schoening

BEREC stakeholder forum: Revisiting the scope of bundling in the EU

At the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)’s annual stakeholder forum in Brussels, bundling in the telecom sector came under the spotlight, and in particular some questions were aimed at whether “bundled” offers were legal. On the occasion of the BEREC forum, we thought it useful to revisit European rules on bundling which are relevant both from a regulatory and from a competition law perspective. Bundling can primarily occur in two ways. The first is known as “pure bundling”. Pure bundling is when two products can only be

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU), Internet, Policy & Regulation Photo of Winston Maxwell

DSM Watch: Hogan Lovells partner discusses net-neutrality at BEREC forum

Below are the remarks of Winston Maxwell at the October 17, 2016 BEREC stakeholder forum in Brussels. The FCC’s open Internet order and the BEREC guidelines on net neutrality are similar in how they analyze commercial offers by ISPs and practices such as zero rating. Both BEREC and the FCC recognize that commercial practices do not lend themselves to a one-size-fits-all regulatory approach.  In its Digital Economy Outlook, the OECD stated that zero rating practices can have pro-competitive or anti-competitive effects. It all depends on the facts.  The FCC analyzes

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband

Court of Appeals Upholds FCC’s Open Internet Order

In a major victory for the Federal Communications Commission’s democratic majority, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld the FCC’s 2015 Open Internet Order on June 14, 2016.  The 2-1 decision by the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals likely is not the last word on net neutrality because broadband service providers will very likely pursue rehearing from the full D.C. Circuit court or the Supreme Court.  The ruling has also renewed calls for congressional action on net neutrality.  For now, the court’s decision paves the way for

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband

“New Charter” Conditions Go Beyond Open Internet Rules

On May 10, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) released its Memorandum Opinion and Order approving Charter Communications Inc.’s (“Charter”) acquisition of Time Warner Cable Inc.  The merged entity, called “New Charter,” will be the second-largest broadband provider with 19.4 million users, and the third-largest cable television provider with 17.4 million customers.  The approval of the merger, however, did not come without restrictions.  In its over 300-page order, the FCC imposes several behavioral conditions on New Charter, including: Requiring New Charter to interconnect with qualifying companies on a settlement-free basis; Preventing New Charter

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Alexander Maltas

The FCC’s Consumer Broadband Labels: An avenue for meeting the FCC’s Open Internet transparency requirements?

On April 4, 2016, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in collaboration with the Consumer Financial Protraction Bureau, unveiled standardized consumer broadband labels that will list information about the price and performance of fixed and mobile broadband service. While the FCC will not require broadband providers to adopt the broadband labels, the FCC explained that the labels will provide a safe harbor for complying with the enhanced Open Internet transparency requirements that the FCC adopted in March 2015.  The consumer broadband labels could provide broadband providers with a convenient method of

Posted in Entertainment & Content, Internet, Policy & Regulation Photo of Alexander MaltasPhoto of Tom Peters

India Decision on Zero Rating Highlights Uncertainty Across Borders Regarding Zero-rating Mobile Data Services

A recent decision by India’s telecom regulator to prohibit differential charges for Internet content – which effectively blocked Facebook from offering its Free Basics service in the country – highlights how regulators around the globe continue to work through whether and how “zero-rating” data services may be permissible under their country’s net neutrality framework.  Zero-rating services allow consumers to access certain content without being charged for that data.  For example, Facebook’s Free Basics program offers users no-fee access to a text-only mobile version of the Facebook social network, as well

Posted in Policy & Regulation Photo of Charlie Hawes

Hogan Lovells assists Internet of Things policy group in Brussels

On October 26, 2015, the European Commission published the Policy Report of Working Group 4 (WG4) of the Alliance for Internet of Things Innovation (AIOTI). The AIOTI is a group of ICT industry stakeholders advising the Commission’s Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG Connect) on policy and regulatory matters relating to the Internet of Things (IoT). The Policy Report makes recommendations to the Commission in relation to the IoT in four key areas: privacy, security, liability and net neutrality. It is the outcome of six months of

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation Photo of Pauline FaronPhoto of Christine Gateau

Part 2 – French Digital Council Releases Its “Digital Ambition” Report

In the second part of the French Digital Ambition Report (the “Report”), entitled “towards a new concept of public action: openness, innovation, participation“, the French Digital Council highlights the need to induce public authorities to act with more transparency and efficiency. The 15 practical recommendations in this section focus on opening up and digitalizing public services, notably to improve transparency and participation of citizens, as well as opening up public data to support innovation, the sharing of information and experiences. The third part of the Report is dedicated to the

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation Photo of Pauline FaronPhoto of Christine Gateau

Part 1 – French Digital Council Releases Its “Digital Ambition” Report

On 18 June 2015, the “Digital Ambition” Report “for a French and European digital transition policy” (“the Report”) was submitted to the French Prime Minister by the French Digital Council (Conseil National du Numérique). As reported last October 2014, this Report is the result of a five-month (October 2014 – February 2015) national consultation launched by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, along with State Secretary for digital economy Axelle Lemaire. Overall, 17,678 contributions were received from 2,300 contributors. On the basis of these contributions, the French Digital Council drafted its Report

Posted in Advertising, Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Anthonia Ghalamkarizadeh

Adblocking to extend to mobile markets?

As reported in the press last week, the rise of adblocking appears to be spreading (read our earlier reports here and here). On 14 May, the Financial Times reported that a number of mobile operators are currently developing plans to block advertising on their networks. One unnamed European wireless carrier told the Financial Times that it plans to roll out adblocking by the end of this year. The mobile adblocking technology in question was developed by the Israeli start-up Shine. Roi Carthy, chief marketing officer of Shine, told the Financial Times that

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Mark Brennan

U.S. FCC Decision Triggers Potential Sea Change in Broadband ISP Data Privacy and Security Requirements

In its recent Open Internet Order (“Order”), the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) determined that broadband Internet access services are appropriately classified as common carrier “telecommunications services” under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In doing so, the agency established itself as the primary U.S. data privacy and security regulator for those services and triggered additional requirements under the Act. It also promised a future rulemaking that could result in a sea change in how ISPs and their business partners interact with consumer data. Although the decision is widely expected to

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Michele Farquhar

US net neutrality principles emerge from FCC staff presentation

On February 26, the Federal Communications Committion (FCC) voted 3-2 along party lines to adopt Open Internet rules.  The FCC Bureau requested to retain “editorial privileges” to the order, which the Chairman granted, meaning that drafting of the text of the order itself will continue for the next several days if not weeks.  According to press reports, the text of the order itself is not expected to be available for potentially a few more weeks, due to delays in the Commissioners providing edits to the text of the order.  Consequently

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband

U.S. FCC Chairman Announces Title II Net Neutrality Proposal

Coming hot on the heels of an op-ed in Wired Magazine and a more detailed U.S. FCC-released “Fact Sheet,” FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has proposed Open Internet “net neutrality” rules to the other FCC Commissioners and scheduled a vote on the rules for the FCC’s Open Meeting on February 26, 2015. As discussed below, these rules would represent a shift in U.S. telecommunications policies governing Internet access services, creating new net neutrality protections for Internet content, applications, services and devices by applying “Title II” common carriage duties to broadband. Reclassification

Posted in Internet, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Mark Brennan

Recent Net Neutrality Developments in the EU and the Americas

With an ongoing rulemaking at the Federal Communications Commission, a pair of Congressional hearings, and President Obama’s recent remarks on the matter, U.S. policymakers have been actively debating net neutrality issues.  However, the U.S. is not alone:  The EU has taken significant steps towards a new net neutrality law, Brazil and Mexico passed legislation last year, and Chile’s regulatory authority acted to enforce the country’s existing net neutrality law.  The global interest in and debate over net neutrality will continue as more countries consider whether to regulate and the effects

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Mark Parsons

Hogan Lovells Hong Kong partner interviewed on net neutrality

In a video interview, Hogan Lovells partner Mark Parsons presented the Asian debate on net neutrality. Citing greater retail competition in certain Asian markets, Parsons pointed out that the US debate cannot be transposed as-is to Asia. A “market by market” approach is required, says Parsons. Many Asian markets have “fantastic broadband speeds, so you don’t see so many throttling issues,” according to Parsons. Unbundling of the local loop and the retail ISP competition provide greater choice to many Asian customers than what exists in the US. As in the US, Parsons says large incumbents

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Winston Maxwell

Net neutrality: French regulator publishes Internet QoS measurements

The French regulatory authority for electronic communications, ARCEP, published its first Internet quality of service (QoS) measurements for net neutrality purposes.  The quality of service measurements are intended to make poor ISP performance more visible to consumers, regulators and upstream content providers. France, like most other countries in Europe, allows Internet access providers flexibility to shape traffic and offer managed services as long as ISPs are transparent about their policies and the quality of service of basic Internet access does not suffer.  If the quality of service of Internet access drops, the ARCEP, like

Posted in Data Protection & Privacy, Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Federico Hernández Arroyo

Mexico adopts strict net neutrality framework

The Mexican constitutional reform in telecommunications published last year acknowledged Internet access as a human right. The recent Federal Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law (the “Law”) has introduced many new concepts, such as net neutrality, which was previously unregulated in Mexico. For more information about the constitutional reform and the Law, please refer to the previous article in this issue. Despite its existence and application years before, net neutrality regulation has recently become a hot topic worldwide and international regulators have adopted different positions. For example, the European Parliament recently tabled

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband

Net neutrality in Europe: BEREC publishes report on monitoring Internet QoS

Net neutrality has in recent years become a prominent area of interest for BEREC – the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications – which is composed of high level representatives of the relevant national regulatory authorities (NRAs) in each EU Member State.  In 2011 the European Commission asked it to undertake a fact-finding exercise on issues crucial to ensuring an open and neutral internet, and since then, BEREC has published various frameworks and guidelines on quality of service and transparency as well as findings on the traffic management practices

Posted in Broadcasting, Policy & Regulation, Spectrum, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Federico Hernández Arroyo

Mexican Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law to enter into effect 13 August 2014

On 10 June 2013, after a fast-track approval, the decree to reform the Mexican Constitution (the “Reform”), mainly in telecommunications matters, was enacted by President Enrique Peña Nieto. The Reform recognized as human rights the access to: (i) information and communications technology, and (ii) broadcasting and telecommunications services, including broadband and the Internet.  Following the Reform, the Federal Telecommunications and Broadcasting Law (the “Law”) was published on 14 July and will enter into effect on 13 August 2014. The Reform creates the Federal Institute of Telecommunications (“IFT”), a new regulatory

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Winston Maxwell

European Parliament votes to strengthen net neutrality

The European Parliament adopted on April 3, 2014 a series of amendments to the European Commission’s proposed “Connected Continent” regulation.  Among the most controversial amendments are those strengthening net neutrality.  The legislative process is far from over. It is unlikely that the European Parliament’s amendments will survive “as is” in the final regulation.  Nevertheless, the European Parliament’s vote establishes a political reference point against which future legislative debates on net neutrality will be measured.

Posted in Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Trey Hanbury

D.C. Circuit Strikes Down Network Neutrality Rules

In a highly anticipated decision, the D.C. Circuit has struck down key provisions of the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) network neutrality regulation that banned blocking lawful content and prohibited fixed broadband providers from unreasonably discriminating among content providers.  While the majority of the three-judge panel concluded that section 706 of the Telecommunications Act gives the FCC authority to promulgate rules on broadband, the court concluded the FCC cannot use its section 706 authority to regulate broadband information service providers as if they were traditional common carriers.

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Winston Maxwell

French court says peering link not “essential facility”

Cogent accused major European telecom operators of violating antitrust rules in their Internet peering and transit practices.  The European Commission is investigating, and launched dawn raids this summer.  Meanwhile, Cogent suffered a legal setback in France. On December 19, 2013, the Paris Court of Appeals denied Cogent’s antitrust claims against France Telecom. In 2012, Cogent sued France Télécom before the French competition authority, arguing (among other things) that France Télécom had abused its dominant position by requiring payment from Cogent in exchange for increasing direct peering capacity.  The French competition authority dismissed Cogent’s