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Anatel Launches Public Consultation on User Responsibilities: Potential Threats to Net Neutrality?


The National Telecommunications Agency (Anatel) convened a webinar on January 29, 2024, unveiling a new Public Consultation focusing on the regulation of users’ duties. This consultation is open for contributions until April 15. 

Criticism has emerged from a substantial portion of the ecosystem, echoing concerns from the 2023 Consultation on the same subject. Notably, no formal final report was issued, and a Risk Impact Assessment was absent from the previous round. 

As highlighted in our coverage of the preceding consultation, akin to others scrutinized earlier, the notion of an “Internet toll” is proposed as a potential future scenario. However, opposition to its implementation comes from all parties except large telecommunications operators. 

The agency’s preliminary assessment justifies this year’s Public Consultation, citing the intricate nature of the issues at hand. It has outlined six thematic areas for soliciting input on users’ duties:

  1. Impact on telecommunications networks.

  2. Regulatory imbalance among agents in the digital ecosystem.

  3. Imbalance in consumer protection across traditional and digital environments.

  4. Indications of unbalanced competition within the digital ecosystem.

  5. Imbalances in investments required by each player in the digital ecosystem for network infrastructure expansion and sustainability.

  6. Imbalances among different players in the digital ecosystem concerning transparency measures.

Upon examining the sub-themes within each of these areas, it becomes apparent that the “Internet toll” policy permeates a significant portion of the discussion. Indeed, theme 5 explicitly contemplates remuneration for the use of “all digital platforms” or a “limited set of digital platforms.” 

The overarching argument suggests that “some” web users consume excessive bandwidth without fair compensation. However, as we have previously demonstrated, there are at least 10 reasons why this assertion is unfounded (refer to the list of reasons here). Notably, the currently open Consultation proposal introduces two key concepts: “digital ecosystem” and “market imbalances.” 

As for the latter, we have detected a discernible tendency to view the Internet applications layer as a source of problems rather than acknowledging the contributions of the digital economy to access rights and social and economic development. It is crucial to recognize that platforms play a pivotal role in attracting customers to telecom operators, thereby enhancing the appeal of their services.

For those seeking in-depth understanding, we recommend perusing our technical study, reference library, and notices on the Internet Toll campaign website. Reference material published by ISOC Global on the subject is also worthwhile, as it emphasizes how the “Internet toll” debate has been well-documented. It is essentially a conflict between big telcos and everyone else.


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