Network Neutrality. By K C Chow. Regulatory Affairs Advisory Committee 23 April 2009

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1 Network Neutrality By K C Chow Regulatory Affairs Advisory Committee 23 April

2 What is Network Neutrality? Traditional Public Internet model: Transmission quality of traffic and the service charge are largely independent of the content of packets or the identity of the sender or receiver; and Best-effort delivery mode which offers no QoS assurance. Network Neutrality - behaviours of operators in handling traffic, which may be problematic if not properly handled. 2

3 Network Neutrality Violations Affiliated Service/Content Provider 3 rd Party Service/Content Provider Provider Who Pays More Provider Who Pays Less * Fast lane * Connection blocked * Delivery degraded * Given priority * Preferential treatment * Lower priority * Delivery degraded Services Stratum Transport Stratum * Fast track * Access denied * Service degraded Premium User End User Who Pays Less 3

4 The Regulations in US Since 2005, broadband Internet access has been considered as an Information Service subject to the general ancillary jurisdiction under Title 1 of the Communications Act; The Internet industry is lightly regulated. 4

5 Network Neutrality Policy in US Consumers are entitled to access the lawful Internet content of their choice; Consumers are entitled to run applications and use services of their choice, subject to the needs of law enforcement; Consumers are entitled to connect their choice of legal devices that do not harm the network; and Consumers are entitled to competition among network providers, application and service providers, and content providers. These principles are subject to reasonable network management. 5

6 Regulatory Framework in the EU Framework Directive imposes tight control on local loop unbundling (LLU) and discrimination; Access Directive regulates access and interconnection, and manages interoperability of services; Universal Service Directive obliges operators to disclose limitations on access in service contracts; and Universal Service Directive empowers national regulatory authority (NRA) to set and impose minimum QoS standard. 6

7 Regulatory Framework in Japan The New Competition Promotion Program 2010 addresses, among other things, the issue of Network Neutrality; Two principles: equal access to networks equitable cost distribution of networks 7

8 Connection Reset 8

9 Case Study #1: Comcast in US In November 2007, Comcast was accused of using Deep Packet Inspection (DPI) with Reset Injection technique to slow down BT traffic; FCC considered it discriminatory against a particular type of Internet traffic without clear information given to its customers; FCC ordered Comcast to stop throttling the P2P traffic and replace the prevailing network congestion management practice by a new protocol-agnostic one; and Comcast complied with the Order but appealed to the court challenging the basis on which FCC had found that Comcast violated federal policy in the absence of preexisting legally enforceable regulations. 9

10 Case Study #2: Bell Canada (1) On 3 April 2008, Bell Canada was alleged of using traffic shaping technology to slow down the traffic in its wholesale service known as Gateway Access Service (GAS); CRTC found that Bell Canada has been using DPI to manage network congestion on a network-wide basis, including shaping the Internet traffic of its own retail customers as well as GAS ISPs' customers; 10

11 Case Study #2: Bell Canada (2) CRTC found no evidence to support that the trafficshaping measure on GAS was intended to secure sufficient bandwidth for its own services; and CRTC concluded that the conduct of Bell Canada in managing network congestion was reasonable and nondiscriminatory, but ordered Bell Canada to propose advanced notification requirements to address future changes that may impact materially on the performance of GAS. 11

12 Case Study 3: iplayer Service (1) BBC launched in December 2007 the iplayer Service: Subscribers are able to download the full BBC programs in the past seven days for viewing on computers free of charge or watch the same programs online; As a result, an average customer downloads an additional 3GB of data per month; 12

13 Case Study 3: iplayer Service (2) Aggregate cost of broadband capacity to support the iplayer Service is between 399M and 831M over the next 5 years; ISPs expressed concerns on the demand for bandwidth; ISPs demanded BBC to share the network costs, else they would throttle the iplayer s traffic; 13

14 Case Study 3: iplayer Service (3) BBC compromised by installing servers at various points in the BT s & the ISPs networks; and The more popular iplayer programmes will then be stored in the servers physically located closer to the viewers, thereby bypassing bottlenecks in the transmission networks. 14

15 Relevant Regulations in Hong Kong S7K, L and N of the Telecommunications Ordinance deal with anti-competitive practices; S24(1)(c) of the Ordinance deals with abstain from transmitting, or detain or delay messages; Special Condition (SC) 3 of the Unified Carrier Licence (UCL) and the Fixed Carrier Licence (FCL) deal with interconnection and connectivity; and GC on Control of Interference and Obstruction in FCL/UCL deals with service obstruction. 15

16 Regulatory Framework for VoIP Existing regulatory framework for VoIP Service Mode 1 - The VoIP service is provided by the supplier of the broadband connection to the customer; (~Vertical integration) Mode 2 - The VoIP service is provided by a service provider who has direct access to, and interconnection with, the broadband connection under a commercial agreement with the supplier of the broadband connection; (~Tiered service) and Mode 3 - The VoIP service is provided by an operator as an application on the Internet which is accessed through the broadband connection. (~3 rd party traffic, best-effort delivery) 16

17 Preliminary Views of OFTA The issue of Network Neutrality mainly stems from the lack of sufficient competition in the market; We have sufficient competition in both the facilities and the services markets; and The current VoIP regulatory model can be generalized to apply to other types of services riding on the NGN. 17

18 The End 18

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