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Internet Neutrality: How do Brazil and the US regulate the issue?

By Dane Avanzi

After months of debate and court battles between US telecommunications operators, the FCC – Federal Communications Commission, Anatel’s equivalent US authority, decided last week that it will not change the rules for access and charging for the Internet service. Moreover, on a true Internet D-Day, the FCC reclassified the internet service to the category equivalent to the telephone service, henceforth having unquestionable competence for management on the subject, a fact that had been questioned until then.

While on the one hand the theme was a campaign promise made by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other Democrats, with the FCC through its chairman Tom Wheeler honoring a commitment to the voter, on the other, operators claim that without charging the contents of Differentiated mode cannot invest in innovations and improvements.

The crux of the issue of internet neutrality is financial, and it still promises much excitement. After all, how can internet neutrality impact the consumer? Today, internet access is free for any content, regardless of the bandwidth it occupies for your download.

This is because of a basic principle called neutrality. If the FCC did not embrace the principle of neutrality, it would open a gap for operators to create rules to limit or even block certain content that takes up more bandwidth for transfer.

Considering that bandwidth is cost and therefore who uses more must pay for priority transfer, last year was challenged in court a contract between AT&T and Netflix, in which the latter paid the operator in question, greater than market value to offer give your customers faster and better access to their movies. At the time, the FCC stated that the contract was valid as long as consumers did not have to pay more for the service.

Here in Brazil the government also embraced the principle of neutrality. We have a federal law that regulates the matter. We are preparing a supplementary standard to discipline important points such as storing access records, but we do not have a legally constituted authority to manage and enforce the internet with coercive force. There is the CGI – Internet Steering Committee, which is an academic and parastatal body.

The issue of keeping Internet records of Brazilian users, for example, will require monitoring and supervision by a State agency so that there is no misuse of this information. These and other relevant topics should be defined in the complementary law of the Marco Civil da Internet for effective and effective enforcement.

It may seem that the US started in the end, but in fact, it started well, giving the FCC the endowment and competence to handle the issue. Otherwise, what is the point of having a law without first defining who is the competent authority to enforce it?

Dane Avanzi is a businessman, lawyer and vice president of Aerbras – Association of Radiocommunication Companies of Brazil.

About Aerbras: / (11) 2219 0130
The Association of Radiocommunication Companies of Brazil – Aerbras – is a non-profit organization that brings together the associations of the states of São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro and Espirito Santo. The main objective is to integrate companies in the sector and increase the projection of associates in the domestic market, as well as promoting radio communication in Brazil at meetings, lectures, fairs and congresses.

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