WS142 Net Neutrality vs. 5G and New Technological Challenges

13 November 2018 - A Workshop on Other in Paris, France



Debate - 90 Min


Organizer 1: Jean Cattan, Arcep
Organizer 2: Laura Létourneau, Arcep

Speaker 1: Jean Cattan, Government, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 2: Massé Estelle , Civil Society, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 3: Luca Belli, Civil Society, Latin American and Caribbean Group (GRULAC)
Speaker 4: Lisa Felton, Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)
Speaker 5: Carol Anderson , Private Sector, Western European and Others Group (WEOG)


Net Neutrality is a fundamental principle guaranteeing the openness of the internet by guaranteeing non-discrimination in access to the internet. As such, this principle is key to ensure innovation, promote competition and guarantee the enjoyment of human rights online, in particular the right to receive and impart information. While this principle is legally safeguarded in several countries and regions around the world, and put at risk in others, the development of new technologies and standards – such as 5G and new interconnection practices – creates founded and unfounded tensions with the protection of Net Neutrality. In Europe, the Open Internet Regulation will be subject to scrutiny from the end of 2018. In the meantime, regulatory detabes on Net Neutrality continue in India, the United States, South Korea and more. This debate will be an opportunity to highlight the different positions around the key issues that will arise during these exercises. The IGF is a unique opportunity to bring together in a global forum, the many points of view bearing liberty, economic and technical stakes on an issue such as the future of net neutrality.

Session Content: 

The session will address the tensions to the protection of the principle of Net Neutrality arising from the emergence of 5G and the mutation of interconnection practices, for example. While Net Neutrality is central to innovation online, certain actors argue that this principle could hinder the development of enhanced connectivity. The session will aim at bringing facts and evidence to the debate and discuss avenues to ensure that new standards and practices go hand in hand with safeguarding the openness of the internet. Some of the key questions that will be asked in the session will be: - What is so unique about the deployment of 5G for operators and for users? - 5G: How does network slicing - used to create a number of virtual networks - comply with the principle of equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic? - How will mobile edge computing and the rise of CDNs modify the current paradigm of interconnection policies? Opposing arguments of civil society, academia and, operators’ under the moderation of a regulator (in charge of net neutrality as Vice Chair of BEREC, the Body of European Telecoms Regulators in 2018) is a way of prefiguring the debates that will take place in the months to follow.


The session will be organised as a debate where each participants will be asked to provide a series of short remarks on pre-identified issues to define the debate (5 min each, total of 25 min). Participants will be requested to send notes on their comments in advance so a flow can be created in the discussion and debate between speakers will be required. Each speaker will be strongly encouraged to respond to the other parties’ argumentation. The session will thus be focused on a debate between speakers and with the audience in the room and remotely (65 min), The moderator will be promoting the session publicly ahead of time to invite IGF attendees and remote participants to present points to be discussed in the session. See below for online participation. Testimonies from market players (for instance on 5G and interconnection) will be prepared.


The session includes representations from the private sector, governmental institutions, civil society and academia to present a diversity of perspective. Participants from three different regions will be participating to the session: Europe, North America and Latin America. Gender parity will also be ensured. We will thrive to ensure participating from more regions and perspectives through debate with rooms. Luca Belli, from the Center for Technology and Society (CTS) of Fundação Getulio Vargas Law School, Rio de Janeiro, will represent the view of academia. Luca has extensive expertise on Net Neutrality and is the co-chair of the Dynamic Coalition on Net Neutrality. His works have been used i.a. by the Council of Europe to elaborate the Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers on Network Neutrality; quoted by the Report on Freedom of Expression and the Internet of the OAS Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression; and published or quoted by a variety of media outlets, including Le Monde, The Hill, O Globo and La Stampa. Estelle Masse, from Access Now, will represent the views of civil society. Access Now is an international organisation which deferns and extends the digital rigths of users at risk around the world. Through her work, Estelle contributed to the regulatory debates on Net Neutrality in the EU, Brazil, the US and India. Access Now maintains the Global Coalition on Net Neutraly, a coalition of hundreds of NGOs around the world working to advance protection for the openness of the internet. Carol Anderson from AT&T and Lisa Felton from Vodafone will represent the views of telecoms operators in the debate. AT&T is the incumbent operator in the United States and a major global actor in the media and telecommunications sector, in particular in North and Central America. Vodafone is a successful UK-based non-incumbent telecom operator which has grown into a major international player which operates in Asia, Africa and Europe. Jean Cattan and Laura Létourneau both work at Arcep (the French Telecom Regulator). Jean Cattan (PhD in public law, 2012) is the advisor of the Chairman. He has practiced, lectured and been writing on telecommunications law for the last ten years. He is the author of a book entitled "The law of access to electronic communications" (2015). Laura Letourneau is Head of the Open Internet Unit. She holds a Master in executive engineering and management from Mines Paristech. Her book "Ubérisons l'État ! Avant que d'autres ne s'en chargent..." was published in 2015.

Online Participation: 

The moderator will be taking questions from social media to contribute to the discussions and will share the session ahead of time to encourage remote participants to bring up issues to be discussed. An online platform (e.g., used by European institutions such as BEREC) will provide online polling. A discussion pad will be used during the session to ensure the liveneless of the debate and promote interaction with the room and remote participants. It will accommodate the arguments of each side in the form of a table and be used to summarise the discussion. This service may be accessed and used online by interested persons following the debate remotely or not.

Discussion Facilitation: 

The session will be moderated by a regulator representative. Per se, regulators are used to ensure a balanced representation of views and opinions. They can easily and fairly plan and anticipate interventions to come. The moderator will foster discussion between participants and the audience by identifying issues that need to be clarified and diverging positions that generate debates. As mentioned above, an online pad will accommodate arguments of each side in the form of a table. It may also be completed online by interested persons.

Onsite Moderator: 

Jean Cattan

Online Moderator: 

Laura Létourneau


Jean Cattan

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