CANTO on ECTEL’s Net Neutrality Policy

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ECTEL, a regional regulator of Caribbean operators issued a release on November 11, 2016 titled ‘ECTEL Moving Ahead With Net Neutrality’. CANTO issued its Code of Practice on the 21st July 2016, which supports several of the provisions of ECTEL’s policy viz:

 

CANTO

 

ECTEL

 

1. 

  1. No blocking of legal Internet content.
  2. Consumers able to access legal Internet content.
  3. No selective targeting of content or application(s) of specific providers within a class of content, service or applications

1. 

  1. No blocking of Internet content
  2. Protect consumers’ ability to access all content on the Internet.
  3.  

 

2. 

  1.  Any restrictions on use attached to a particular service plan are effectively communicated to customers.

2. 

  1. Provide consumers with coherent, readily accessible information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 In February 2013, CANTO published to all regulators and policymakers proposals on how Internet penetration can be accelerated in the region in its Paper, ‘Incentivising Broadband Investment in the Caribbean Region’. CANTO’s research suggests that Internet penetration can be accelerated in the region by encouraging roll-out of the network by deploying:

  • Import Duty Relief;
  • Consumption Tax Relief and Tax Credits;
  • Reduced License Fees or License Fee Waivers (for a specific period);
  • Universal Service Funds;
  • Human Resourcing;
  • More Government Services Online.

Net neutrality while an important policy consideration does not increase Internet penetration. In fact, the several unlicensed providers in the region have reduced the revenues available to operators to roll-out broadband networks and to governments for Universal Service.

The industry, through CANTO, has signaled its intention to continue the dialogue with the Caribbean ICT Ministers through a collaborative approach to dealing with these kinds of issues in the region.

The Caribbean Telecommunications Union recently announced the formation of a regional cooperation, Caribbean ICT Collaboration Committee (CICC) to jointly work on matters affecting the ICT industry in the Caribbean region. 

The Committee is scheduled to meet on the 4th & 5th December, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, Trinidad. CANTO fully supports this initiative and is looking forward to working with governments and regulators in partnership for the benefit of the people of the region.