BEREC publishes study on Net Neutrality regulation in Chile, India and USA

19 September 2017

In January 2017, BEREC commissioned Analysys Mason to conduct a study on Net neutrality. The objective of this study is to examine the approach taken by NRAs in selected non-European benchmark countries (Chile, India and USA) to address net-neutrality issues. The results of this study are now available and show many interesting takeaways for BEREC Work on this topic, bearing in mind that these different approaches reflect specific legal frameworks and market situations.

Approaches to tackling net neutrality in selected countries

The report shows that Quality of service (QoS) clearly has an impact on net neutrality. Regulators in the markets analysed are actively monitoring QoS, but have chosen to rely on a range of different methods to monitor net neutrality.

For instance, the important role of the complaint systems in the USA and Chile in particular means that enforcement in these two countries has a primarily ex-post character (in contrast to the EU, where Regulation 2015/2120 requires NRAs to monitor proactively, on an ex-ante basis). Moreover, in some regulatory regimes, existing mechanisms and powers to deal with anti-competitive behaviour are preferred to tackle non-neutral practices, which provide regulators with future discretion.

Third-party organisations can also provide useful complements to the NRAs, in terms of expertise and capacity building in measurement systems suitable for the detection of certain types of net-neutrality violations.

In the end, the report demonstrates that many different tools are available to detect practices which may violate net neutrality (either ex ante or ex post), although no single tool would be able to provide a comprehensive solution.

Given the obligation in the EU/EEA upon NRAs to actively monitor non-neutral practices themselves, multiple tools or methods are likely to be required, thus calling for the development of a toolkit that can grow over time as new risks are identified and as new forms of abuse are encountered.

Case studies

The study also presents four case studies from the selected countries.  Although none of the benchmark countries has tools and techniques which have been specifically designed for monitoring non- neutral practices, the case studies illustrate monitoring approaches which may be of use to European NRAs as they develop their approach for addressing net neutrality.

Takeaways for BEREC

This study will contribute to an informed public debate and constitute a valuable source of practical information for European NRAs and BEREC while implementing EU regulation 2015/2120. The study will also help BEREC and European NRAs to define their options for addressing net-neutrality issues and identify the requirements and challenges they may face in future.

Disclaimer: The content of this report does not reflect the official opinion of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communication. Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the authors.