ENDitorial: The ETNO's WCIT proposals are not as bad as some say

By EDRi · October 10, 2012

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Deutsch: [ENDitorial: Der WCIT-Vorschlag der ETNO ist nicht so schlimm wie manche sagen | https://www.unwatched.org/EDRigram_10.19_ENDitorial_Der_WCIT-Vorschlag_der_ETNO_ist_nicht_so_schlimm_wie_manche_sagen?pk_campaign=edri&pk_kwd=20121010]

Many people have criticised the ETNO’s proposals for the World
Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT), arguing that
these would significantly damage net neutrality. These criticisms are
not entirely correct – because ETNO’s proposals are far worse. ETNO’s
proposals would squeeze every ounce of innovation and competition out of
global Internet networks. Goodbye Internet, hello Minitel.

The concept sounds quite friendly and just a little esoteric: “Sending
party pays” (SPP). That sounds fair, until you realise that the sending
party already pays. It sounds fair until you realise that SPP has always
been the principle in the mobile world, and the result of this principle
is tens of billions of Euro wasted by citizens on untransparent,
unjustified and, frequently, unjustifiable charges. Years of regulatory
action has finally led to the most egregious of these problems finally
being solved in Europe.

And, by the way, in case you haven’t noticed : in the world of the
Internet today, the receiving party also pays – and have always paid.
Each of the Internet users connects, using some local Internet Service
Provider (ISP), and he or she pays to get access to the network. In
other words, hiding behind some “new” proposals, are just the old failed
policies of the former monopoly operators, who perhaps feel desperate to
find a business model, in which they make money with no investments. And
a model, which resembles as close as possible the old, analogue
telephone systems model.

In 2008, despite over a decade of liberalisation, the International
Telecommunications Users Group calculated that European citizens were
wasting ten billion Euro per year in “spurious” mobile termination rates
(MTRs). It seems surprising that this could happen in a liberalised
market, but there is a reason for this, namely that termination rates
generally react to competition like a drug-resistent superbug reacts to
antibiotics: with indifference.

ETNO, however, tries to show some modern thinking, and claims that there
is a need for QoS (Quality of Service) among the Internet users.
However, there are no economic calculations that prove their case; in
fact the users know that the Internet is as affordable as it is, because
there’s no guarantee of the QoS. And the users, strangely to ETNO, seem
to like this. The success of the Internet is because the “end to end”
and “net neutrality” principles keep the Internet open and competitive.
Experimenting with this core element of the Internet’s global success in
search of a business model for increasing the profits of a few companies
seems reckless, to say the least.

Reckless experimentation – in the pursuit of profit – with the
functioning of the global internet are ETNO’s proposals to the ITU WCIT.
So, don’t believe ETNO’s critics, they don’t understand just how bad
ETNO’s proposals really are.


ETNO’s proposals


Case summary T-Mobile/Truphone (as a possible example of the dangers of
experimentation in this policy area)

EU regulatory action on MTRs

(Contribution by Dimitar Ganchev, member of the Board, Internet Society
– Bulgaria and Joe McNamee, EDRi)