Monday, April 28, 2014
Catherine Jasserand, University of Amsterdam Faculty of Law, has published Critical Views on the French Approach to 'Net Neutrality' at 16 Journal of Internet Law 18 (2013). Here is the abstract.
Discussions on net neutrality have started three years ago in France and find their roots in the discussions which occurred after the adoption of the revised European Telecoms Package. In 2007, the European Commission proposed to reform the 2002 European Telecoms Package to include, among others, provisions on net neutrality. According to the Impact Assessment accompanying the proposals of revision, the purpose was to avoid that network operators would unfairly discriminate content, services or customers. The original proposals contained a much stronger net neutrality policy that the one which was finally adopted by the European Parliament and Council in November 2009.
The adoption of the revised Telecoms Package opened the debate on the notion in France. In the three years’ time, the French Telecoms regulator published two reports (under the form of 10 nonbinding principles and a technical-economic analysis addressed to the Government and Parliament). The Government released two reports (a technical report and a more political report). Whereas Members of the French Parliament issued opinions as well as information reports on the notion and introduced two draft laws on the topic. This high volume of contributions shows that the topic has generated a lot of interest even if the discussions do not seem to have been conducted in a very consistent way. However they also show that the scope of the topic is not confined to one issue or field and goes much beyond a competition and telecommunications issue. It encompasses freedom of communication (with the right to access the Internet) and touches upon copyright law enforcement issues.
The purpose of the article is to reflect the complexities of the debate from a policy point of view without a specific focus on a sector, field or player. As the debate was born in France after the adoption of the revised European telecoms rules, it seems logical to structure the article around the implementation of these measures. But first, to understand the ins and outs of the topic, a description of the forms and origins of the concept is necessary.
Download the article from SSRN at the link.