Thursday, July 16, 2015

Neoliberal UK: Chris Dawes on "Chopping at the licence fee"

The BBC’s independence is fragile and has been sustained by political and civil society commitment. Until 2007 it rested on a Charter and Agreement lasting at least 10 years (covering at least two parliaments); a licence fee set every 5 years in what was an increasingly transparent way; “Nolan”-principles appointments to the Board of Governors (now Trust); and, to provide clarity to licence fee payers, the whole of the licence fee funding BBC services, collected, since 1991, by the BBC itself. Sadly, that didn’t last.
First, we had the raid on the licence fee to deliver digital switchover, a Government policy bringing a State windfall from selling spectrum. The BBC received £200 million of ring-fenced funds for a marketing programme and £603 million in the January 2007 licence fee settlement to 2012-13 to fund the help scheme to assist those whom the Government deemed needed assistance. The rot had set in. Then we had broadband roll out, funded from the surplus of the digital switchover moneys, then the atrocious last minute “austerity” deal of 2010 which lumbered the BBC with foreign policy and security objectives (the World Service and monitoring) and further broadband spend.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Specialized services and net neutrality - European Commission argues it has tightened definitions

Making the EU work for people: roaming and the open internet - European Commission: "The EU's new rules will also prevent unfair and uncompetitive practices. Paid prioritisation will be banned, which means that a startup's website cannot be slowed down to make way for a larger company prepared to pay extra to get such an advantage.

They also address specialised services that need a higher transmission quality than that guaranteed for everyone. Take a healthcare service like telesurgery, which has to be extremely fast and precise to work properly and safely.

National regulators will allow these specialised and innovative services under strict conditions: above all, they should not harm the quality of the open internet (there should be enough capacity) and higher quality should be necessary for them."

Interesting interpretation and it is true that Recital 11 has been strengthened - but is it really so clear that you cannot put video over IP on a guaranteed QoS service? And if so, that it provides an HD channel not possible over standard Euro-VDSL2 speeds? Here's what Recital 11 actually now adds: "optimisation is necessary in order to meet the requirements of the content, applications or services for a specific level of quality. The national regulatory authority should verify whether and to what extent such optimisation is objectively necessary to ensure one or more specific and key features of the content, application or service and to enable a corresponding quality assurance to be given to end-users, rather than simply granting general priority over comparable content, applications or services available via the internet access service and thereby circumventing the provisions regarding traffic management applicable to the internet access service."

Right, do you trust the German or Cyprus regulator to get that technical judgment correct? Does BEREC have the competence to help them?

'via Blog this'

New telecoms rules to force three countries to change laws – POLITICO

New telecoms rules to force three countries to change laws – POLITICO:

"If large telecoms players are offering zero-rated content and there is limited consumer choice, the Slovenian and Dutch authorities may act to ensure a level playing ground.

“They may use that discretion to challenge zero rating, especially when consumers are disadvantaged,” Schaake said.

 Fight over zero rating isn’t over 


Several MEPs said they will continue pushing for a zero-rating ban.

“Further initiatives against zero rating are urgently needed,” Petra Kammerevert, a German MEP from the Socialists & Democrats, said in a statement. “Combating such business practices, especially in the wake of increasing vertical integration of the companies … needs to be addressed quickly.”

 U.K. porn filter also to go 


Despite the best efforts of U.K. Conservatives in the Parliament, the EU-wide regulation will put an end to Internet service provider-level filters for adult content, which will mean new U.K. laws by the end of next year." 'via Blog this'

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Netherlands to vote against "not neutrality" in Council

Google Translate: "The government is dissatisfied with the agreement reached by the EU on guaranteeing net neutrality across Europe.

The Netherlands has already anchored a strict version of net neutrality in the national law, which ensures that Internet providers must treat all traffic equally. The European version of net neutrality, which the European Parliament, the European Commission and the Member States once it was Monday night, offers less stringent guarantees. "There is no prohibition on price discrimination," said a spokesman for the Ministry of Economic Affairs against NU.nl. "The free consumer choice is limited by the price discrimination and for new businesses it will be harder to get a foothold."
At the European Council, Minister Kamp of Economic Affairs promised to vote against any proposal that net neutrality is not strictly guaranteed. At the next meeting of the European Council will therefore Kamp against the current compromise, but it is very likely that the proposal can still be adopted by a majority. 'via Blog this'

Friday, July 03, 2015

Blurry, ambiguous "net neutrality" deal is an abdication of responsibility" - and an academic's research dream!

Blurry, ambiguous "net neutrality" deal is an abdication of responsibility - EDRi: "The “deal” was achieved after three months of “negotiations” between the EU Council (the Member States of the EU) and the European Parliament. At every stage, the Council simply refused to engage in a dialogue. Then, racing to meet the arbitrary deadline created by the end of the Latvian Presidency of the EU Council, this chaotic, sub-standard text was provisionally agreed.

 Now that our political “leaders” have decided that they cannot make a decision, we must wait for unelected judges and regulators to do the hard work.

This is “just” a provisional agreement. First, the explanatory recitals need to be finalised. Then, the EU institutions need to decide if they are really prepared to create such legal uncertainty for European citizens and business. This will become clear in the coming weeks."

EDRi are right - as an academic researcher, it does make the job easier by making definition harder!  'via Blog this'

Thursday, July 02, 2015

Lights and darknesses of the European net neutrality deal, simply explained

Lights and darknesses of the European net neutrality deal, simply explained « radiobruxelleslibera: " the nature of ordinary best effort Internet may vary depending on the deployment of the networks and related technology, country by country. In the mobile sector it will also depend on a variety of circumstances (spectrum availability, saturation cells etc). Thus, it will be up to the national regulators to find a solution case by case, with the possibility to refer to the Court of Justice of the European Union to render an interpretative ruling. Berec could also be request to intervene to adopt some guidelines. To sum up, I foresee plenty of litigation.

 And finally, the dark side of the net neutrality reform:

Zero-rating practices are allowed. Such clauses allow an ISP to indirectly discriminate competing or non agreed services simply by differently charging the price of the Internet connectivity used to provide them. in the reform there is a general clause whereby contractual agreements about volumes, price and speed should not affect the freedom of users to get the services they want, but this is a too vague wording to say that zero-rating practices may be challenged when they are anticompetitive. This is the most controversial part of the reform. I would expect the European Parliament to protest against." 'via Blog this'

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Telecoms deal: no net neutrality in Europe

Telecoms deal: Mobile roaming charges ban in 2017 – POLITICO: "In the end, the sides decided that sequestering will be acceptable, as long as it doesn’t affect “general” quality of Internet access, according to the Latvian presidency.

Not everyone will be happy, with net neutrality advocates unlikely to be satisfied with the compromise." 'via Blog this'

Monday, June 29, 2015

How Television Won the Internet - NYT

How Television Won the Internet - The New York Times: "Streaming video is now not only the hottest media draw — 78 percent of United States Internet bandwidth — but, defying the trend, many of its creators are getting paid. Netflix bills itself as a disrupter of television — except that it is television, paying Hollywood and the TV industry almost $2 billion a year in licensing and programming fees."

They might mention net neutrality too? 'via Blog this'