Political Economy of the Network Neutrality in the European Union
Meelis Kitsing, Department of Political Science, National Center for Digital Government, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Network neutrality: access providers should not charge higher prices for priority delivery, elimination of price discrimination and traffic prioritization, no denial of access to specific services or applications, etc.
In Europe both content providers and network operators supported the final version of the EU telecom packages, while normally (e.g. in the US) they have opposite visions. The reason may be that they provide complementary groups, so regulations on one party might end up impacting the other party. Of course this may be context-dependent and valid only where functional separation prevails. In any case, it is more like a coordination game, like the battle of the sexes game.
But the debate is scarce and narrowed to technical issues, leaving aside ideology.
On the other hand, even if there is an agreement at the European level, regulations have to be transposed at the national level.
Estonia is a small but critical case in pioneering ICT-related legislation, maybe because of the importance of Skype at the international level.
Let’s Get Physical: Methodologies for Framing Critical Internet Policy and Governance Issues from a Sustainable Development Perspective
Don MacLean, International Institute for Sustainable Development
The information society perspective is terrific (more access to more content in less time, etc.), as terrific as terrible is the perspective over sustainable development: the ecological footprint has surpassed the biocapacity of our planet and now we are incurring into an ecological debt (WWW (2008). Living planet report, p.22), though there are several policies that could reduce this ecological debt (íbid. p.23).
Impacts of Internet and ICTs on sustainable development: first order effects (direct), second order effects (indirect) and third order effects (systemic). And some uncertainties: what technological designs and standards to connect everything and minimize environmental impacts, policies to convert first and second order effects into systemic transformation, governance principles, how to connect the Internet and ICTs to sustainable development, etc.
A project identified 10 critical Internet policy uncertainties and explored the impact on sustainable development of policy choices based on government-led, market-led, security-driven, and community-based governance scenarios.
Some recommendations are to consolidate the existing research on relationship of the Internet with sustainable development, survey research on the web 1.0 relationship between second and third order effects (individual behaviour, attitudes, values, economic structures, social structures, government structures).
Canada’s internet policy: Is ‘inclusiveness’ road-kill on the information highway
Mary C. Milliken, University of New Brunswick
Many people do not participate because (a) they have no access but especially (b) they are not included in the design of the participation processes.
In Canada, civil society organizations were excluded from telecommunication policy, though they had been included and active in media policy.
Governments have a very business-oriented approach when regulating telecommunications and broadcast media, and the people have been left aside.
The CBC began using the Internet in order to be really universal, though they didn’t had specific resources to do so. After a restructure, the CBC labels itself as a content provider, and a provider of content that has to be possible to broadcast in any channel or platform.
But the Internet has no attached requirement to be a public service, and be regulated as such. If the Internet had been understood as a broadcasting media, it could have been regulated as other platforms and have attached this public service requirement/criteria.
Policy-making for digital development: the role of the government
Ismael Peña-López, Open University of Catalonia
- Kitsing: Political Economy of the Network Neutrality in the European Union
- Maclean, Barg: Let’s Get Physical: Methodologies for Framing Critical Internet Policy and Governance Issues from a Sustainable Development Perspective
- Milliken: Canada’s internet policy: Is ‘inclusiveness’ road-kill on the information
- Peña-López: Policy-making for digital development: the role of the government