A Possible Framework for Global Net Neutrality Internet Governance Cacus

29 September 2011 - A Workshop on Internet Governance for Development in Nairobi, Kenya

Agenda

Network Neutrality (NN) has been one of the hottest Internet public policy issues in many countries, over the last year; US's Federal Communications Commission came out with NN guidelines that built over an agreement between two principal corporate players in the area, EU has bene conducting a pulbic hearing on the issue, French telecom regulatory authority have come out with a set of NN proposals and recommendations, Brazil a drafting a new civil rights framework for the Internet of which NN is an important issue. Earlier, in 2009, Norway came out with a much acclaimed set of NN guidelines.

In the background, since Internet is essentially a global network and finally there must be common global norms on whether content can be prioritised across global digital highways including across global interconnection points) on payments by the content providers or not. Interesting, cross border network neutrality is a subject being dealt with by an experts committee on the Council of Europe. If we do not start talking about global norms, taking into consideration the interests and viewpoints of all involved, we will eventually be faced by a default regime of global traffic flows which will be whatever gets decided by the key economic powers. This is undemocratic way of subjecting the global public to the political choices of a few, most powerful. On the other hand, it is also true that even in the more powerful nations, policy making in this area may become hostage to the interests of multinational digital corporations at the cost of the national public interest. It it therefore of considerable value even for the more powerful countries to seek global norms on NN.

The proposed workshop will explore the emerging progressive regimes in different countries and explore the possibility of coming up with a common set of global norms on NN.