LQDN Responds to the Parliamentary Pre-report on Net Neutrality
La Quadrature du Net sent its response (in French) to the pre-report prepared by the French Parliament's working group on Net neutrality.
Mindful of the importance of Net neutrality for the future of our networked societies, the French Parliament's Economic Affairs Committee has set up a working group led by Laure de La Raudière (UMP) and Corinne Erhel (SRC). After hearing many stakeholders, including La Quadrature du Net and not-for-profit ISP FDN, the working group submitted a pre-report (in French) at the beginning of February.
This report contains constructive propositions, in particular regarding the supervision of packet analysis and the judicial authority's role to control restrictions to online freedom of communication (banning of non-judicial filtering). However, many elements of concern remain given the vagueness surrounding the notion of “Quality of Service” and the reference to “differentiation between service classes”.
While setting up minimal levels for quality of service regarding the public Internet or prioritising data streams for managed services is acceptable under certain conditions, differentiating among traffic classes on the public Internet goes against the network neutrality principle and raises serious issues. Such differentiation:
- undermines the freedom of communication enjoyed by Internet users, by handing over the users' power to decide how different data streams are transported to the operators;
- harms equal user participation in the online public sphere, by favouring users who can afford to pay for high-quality access and priority on the network, at the expense of all other users;
- stifles competition and innovation in the digital economy, by granting privileged traffic conditions to the richest online content providers;
- compromises investment in fibre-based infrastructures, letting operators use network saturation to their advantage through premium priority access offers.
Our response to the report ends with recommendations designed to protect Net neutrality through law. As policy initiatives in the field of Net neutrality are on the increase, lawmakers must work together to protect freedom of communication in the digital environment.