Understanding Net Neutrality and Stakeholders’ Arguments

There is no doubt that net neutrality is a complex topic and is on the agenda of the telecom regulators around the world. There are a number of stakeholders who have an interest in this debate but have not familiarized themselves with the arguments both for and against. Put simply, the net neutrality debate is often derailed by people who have a religious approach to the issue and make emotional, seemingly inviolable arguments that puts one set of stakeholders above all others rather than taking the time and process for a multi-stakeholder dialogue.

Strand Consult we has spent significant time and resources to to understand this issue and the debate in various countries. The knowledge is gathered in a new report called Understanding Net Neutrality and Stakeholders’ Arguments. This report will ensure that Strand Consult’s customers are prepared to engage in this high stakes debate.

Net neutrality emerged before the broadband era. Today’s internet is marked by exploding traffic on wireline and wireless networks and a shift in the balance of power from broadband providers to those who dominate service provision. Over the top players (OTT) such as Google, Facebook, Netflix , Skype, Apple, Microsoft and WhatsApp have blurred the lines about the providers of data, voice, and video, and have captured regulatory attention. As telecom revenues are declining globally and governments want more broadband infrastructureinvestment, the economic and political arguments of the debate are evolving. Furthermore given costs and looming regulation, various parties are finding their own traffic management solutions, which depart from the archetypes which formed the original net neutrality arguments.

There are not only economic and political arguments in the debate, but heated discussions about human rights. Strand Consult has parsed these arguments, reviewed their philosophical background and provides the relevant counter arguments and evidence. To be sure, human rights are important as ever, but operators contributions to facilitate freedom of expression also need to recognized.

The report includes a case study about net neutrality in the Netherlands. This example was seen as a crucial win for the net neutrality movement and a possible influence to the EU debate and future legislation. Based upon in depth interviews, the case study describes the rule making process from the points of the different stakeholders: operators, politicians, regulators and bureaucrats net neutrality supporters, content and application providers and others. The study illustrates how with the right mix of forces, a net neutrality rule can be enacted in two months.

In the report Understanding Net Neutrality and Stakeholders’ Arguments Strand Consult has described in detail the net neutrality debate, its different stakeholders and at least 30 different arguments used. Here additional items in the report. If you already know the following , then there is no need to order this report.

•Analysis of internet value chain and its impact to net neutrality, what if analysis if net neutrality were applied to all layers of the internet value chain
•Discussion of the evolution of internet architecture
•Analysis of the regulatory framework and policies of net neutrality and how current rules compare to the ideal type of policy formulation
•Analysis of stakeholders both for and against net neutrality including powerful political action committees, foundations, corporations and individuals
•Philosophical and ideological background of the debate
•30 myths and assumptions of net neutrality including the academic background, arguments and justifications. Each item includes a rebuttal with counter arguments and counter evidence.
•10 things that operators can learn from net neutrality supporters
•10 things that operators can do to address net neutrality
•10 engineering principles that negate net neutrality
•Case study of net neutrality in the Netherlands
•Case: Analysis of Verizon v. FCC, an operator’s case against the Open Internet Order
•Additional Case Studies: Apple FaceTime, Signal Traffic on Mobile networks, internet of things, net neutrality in developing countries
•Detailed bibliography and background for further reading

The debate about net neutrality varies greatly around the world. The definitions of and arguments for net neutrality are very different from one country to another. Additionally what constitutes a violation and the associated regulations and punishments differ as well. Strand Consult has synthesized this information to expose the paradoxes, hypocrisy and double standards held about operators and other players in the value chain. Given a dozen different definitions of net neutrality, it is possible to find many parties discriminatory including operating systems, websites, and devices. Indeed many are considering how companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, WhatsApp, Skype and others might also be regulated under net neutrality. Another key issue that is emerging are that users need protections from governments themselves which would use the internet to surveil their own citizens, and how net neutrality may be a dangerous quid pro quo brandishing operators but leaving the door open to government invasion of citizens’ privacy.

The report Understanding Net Neutrality and Stakeholders’ Arguments reviews the history and development of net neutrality for ideas how how the debate can be revitalized to focus on broader challenges and concerns than operators alone. Alternatively it can help operators educate net neutrality supporters and regulators to refocus their efforts using existing laws and institutions which are more appropriate to address human rights violations and issues of market power. It also gives suggestions of how operators can play a role to facilitate users’ rights without compromising their financial goals and surrendering to knee-jerk legislation.

The report Understanding Net Neutrality and Stakeholders’ Arguments is a unique and valuable toolset for those interested in net neutrality and a smart way to save time and resources when preparing for the debate. Contact Strand Consult if you would like to order this report and to do a workshop.

Buy the report today and be smarter tomorrow