WASHINGTON, 16 SEPTEMBER 2014
This roundtable will consider the proper scope of new open Internet rules, with a focus on the definition
of reasonable network management, treatment of specialized services, and whether new rules should
extend to the point of interconnection between last-mile Internet service providers (ISPs) and other
networks and services (i.e. Internet traffic exchange).
Daniel Pataki: “Thank you very much to the FCC for having invited ETNO to represent European telcos at this
roundtable.Today, in this room, you are discussing the scope of US legislation. The very presence of a European
trade association at this table nicely reflects the nature of the Open Internet debate. It is a global one,
because the internet is global and because we all want to preserve its unity and integrity.
Depending on statistics, the EU and the US cumulatively account for more than 30% of internet users
in the world. American and European companies are providing online services which have changed the
lives of billions of people across the globe. Our commercial ties are strong and regulatory convergence
between the two sides of the Atlantic is often a common political objective.
For this reason, I agree that we share a common responsibility for advancing a level-headed, open and
inclusive debate on what an Open Internet should look like.
As Director of ETNO, I will not take positions on the specifics of the US regulatory discussion, but I will
rather underline some high-level principles which we believe should form part of any policy approach to the Open Internet. Excessive divergence on principles, especially if they are enshrined in law, might harm the internet as a global, interconnected ecosystem. I’ll now go straight to the points you asked us to consider for this panel.
Let me start with the most general: how do we define the proper scope of open internet rules?
First of all, I believe that the debate on the open Internet should be held by looking at the Internet
value chain as a whole.
Let’s assume that we manage to agree on some common principles, like openness and transparency
for example. I believe that they should then be implemented across the entire value chain. The ‘last
mile’ can no longer be discussed in isolation when we debate whether to regulate or not to regulate a
complex ecosystem. Consistency is key both from a user perspective and from the business one.
Now, if we focus on telcos, I believe that the European debate has reached consensus at least on three
First, blocking or throttling of competing services is a no-go. Let me add more: Tariffs that limit
access to certain Internet services, such as VoIP, are not a future business model.
Second, we need transparency to empower choice and provide full information to users.
Third, traffic management is necessary to ensure – and I quote the European Commission –
“an efficient use of the networks”.
European telcos agree with such principles.
Let me now expand on traffic management.
We believe that network management is essential to the proper, secure and reliable functioning of networks. More than that: Our engineers, who run the network, tell us so. They also tell us that significant limitations to traffic management practices would
effectively degrade the users’ experience and hamper the quality of the services that we currently
offer to European citizens.
Traffic management is one piece of this, the flexibility to experiment with new business models, new
services, and the like is also essential. Both are necessary to provide consumers with more choices and
to encourage innovation and investment.
The third aspect you asked us to consider is the treatment of specialized services. We do believe that
specialized services are and should remain a key part of the Internet and broadband ecosystem, which
has created so much choice and opportunities for all. In our view, they should remain outside the scope
of the open Internet rules. Any restrictive measures would risk hampering the enriching potential of
current and future specialized services
To conclude, let me summarize 3 important principles that we believe should drive the Open Internet debate in both national and international arenas:
that we believe should drive the Open Internet
debate in both national and international arenas:
First any measure designed by governments in this field should be pro innovation.
Second, measures should be pro-investment. We should share a common objective here: we
want more investments to flow into the deployment of high-speed networks and new online
services. It would be self-defeating if Open Internet rules had an investment-chilling effect.
Third, measures should be future-proof. Legacy regulation conceived for the PSTN-based
telecoms world is not appropriate to today’s fast-moving and exciting internet ecosystem. I
am sure this will be further discussed later by the other speakers.
Let’s talk future, investments, innovation. Telcos are fully on board