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Open Letter in Defense of Net Neutrality


 

We express deep concern regarding the recent statements made by Carlos Manuel Baigorri, President of the National Telecommunications Agency of Brazil (Anatel), publicly opposing net neutrality.


This stance is troubling for two primary reasons. Firstly, it was articulated during an ongoing public consultation preceding the publication of the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) mandated by law. Such premature communication could be construed as an attempt to sway the process, disregarding the input of various stakeholders. Secondly, the absence of a legally mandated RIA publication is concerning. This analysis is pivotal for evaluating the ramifications of new regulations and upholding transparency and democracy in the process. The failure to publish the RIA undermines due process and compromises the legitimacy of any future decisions by the Agency. 


The remarks were delivered at the Mobile World Congress 2024, hosted by GSMA, an organization representing over 1,000 mobile operators and technology enterprises. During this event, the President of Anatel voiced intentions to dismantle net neutrality in the country and endorse policies undermining an open and free network, such as the network fee policy. 


We are deeply concerned by two remarks made by Baigorri,  which have raised alarms among us:


“A few years ago, we had a discussion about net neutrality, and I said it back then, and I’ll say it again now, that we were being deceived because it seemed to me that neutrality was being claimed as something [aimed at] defending democracy and freedom of expression. But at the end of the day, they were just creating commercial privileges for some specific companies.”


“Net neutrality, as I see it, is yet another commercial privilege created for American corporations, with no significant impact on innovation or competitiveness.”


These declarations not only signify a significant distortion of the essence of net neutrality but also foreshadow a conclusion that should emanate from the ongoing public consultation and the forthcoming publication of the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) on this matter.



Why does neutrality matter?


The President of Anatel’s discourse appears to contradict the Agency’s longstanding support for a competitive and unrestricted internet.


Net neutrality stands as a fundamental pillar of the Internet’s framework, stipulating that data must traverse the network impartially, irrespective of its content, origin, or destination. The recent proposal put forth by major telecommunications operators, advocating for discriminatory treatment of data packets based on commercial considerations, blatantly contravenes this principle.


In Brazil, net neutrality was enshrined by the Civil Rights Framework for the Internet, following extensive multilateral deliberations involving government entities, corporate stakeholders, domestic and international scholars, technical experts, and civil society representatives.


Within this framework, it solidifies society’s stance in safeguarding consumer rights against the emergence of a potential dichotomy between the “Internet of the rich” and the “Internet of the poor,” marked by disparate access to “specialized services” that could impinge upon both affordability and accessibility for end-users.


Its core objective is to preserve the Internet’s open architecture, ensuring equitable treatment of data packets and seamless interoperability with all other networks. This, in turn, fosters innovation and competition among content and service providers while upholding fundamental rights and facilitating universal connectivity. 



Who else advocates for neutrality?


The President of Anatel’s address disregards the reality that numerous countries not only embrace net neutrality but actively champion it. Indeed, there has been a consistent rejection of proposals introducing network tolls, commonly known as “network fee policies.” Indeed, Anatel has even conducted two recent public consultations on the matter, registered under numbers 13/2023 and 26/2023 (currently ongoing).


The diverse array of stakeholders engaged in the debate over network fees in Brazil and Europe unequivocally support net neutrality as a cornerstone of the Internet. The lone dissenting voice to this consensus emerges from the major telecommunications operators, or big telcos, whom Anatel represents.


It is noteworthy that European nations have formally rebuffed the network fee proposal (for instance, Italy and Belgium), while in South Korea, the sole country to implement such a policy, adverse repercussions on competitiveness have ensued (such as Twitch’s departure from South Korea) alongside a decline in service quality for consumers (as evidenced by issues surrounding streaming services, also in South Korea). 



Signatories


The undersigned individuals, representing civil society organizations and the technical community with bolstered support from various sectors, hereby underscore their apprehension regarding the positions taken by the President of Anatel. They emphasize the critical importance of upholding the public interest, adhering to due legal process, and maintaining impartiality inherent to the role of President of a Regulatory Agency. This concern is particularly salient amidst the deliberative phase of the ongoing Public Consultation.



Institutional Endorsements


  • Internet Society Capítulo Brasil (ISOC Brasil);

  • Instituto de Tecnologia e Sociedade do Rio de Janeiro (ITS Rio)

  • Instituto Nupef;

  • Instituto Bem Estar Brasil (IBEBrasil)

  • Internexo Ltda.

  • Universidade de São Paulo

  • Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN)

  • PrivacyMap

  • Escola Digital

  • Mazin Soares Advogados

  • PSI - Internet

  • FCLAR/UNESP

  • Faculdade de Ciências e Letras

  • Open Knowledge Brasil

  • Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro

  • MBD SIA

  • Instituto Aaron Swartz

  • Nexos Digital LTDA

  • THINK TANK ABES – Centro de Inteligência, Políticas Públicas e Inovação

  • Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz da Universidade de São Paulo - USP

  • Centro de Estudos de Carbono em Agricultura Tropical (CCarbon)

  • VIZY Sustentabilidade e Compliance

  • CityVista

  • FonteMidia Americas

  • Telecom

  • Suporte ISP

  • CEFET-MG

  • Sage Networks Serviço de Telecomunicações LTDA

  • OmniSec Intelligence & Security LTDA

  • Grupo PMC

  • NextHop Solutions

  • Impacto Telecom


Individual Endorsements: 


  • Everton Vilhena Cardoso

  • Nilson Theobald Barbosa

  • Júlia Bossardi Premaor

  • Bárbara Ravanello

  • Arthur Felipe

  • Jonathan Vallonis Botelho

  • Simone Saturnino Braga

  • Thiago Luis Rosa Ribeiro

  • Itevaldo Costa Junior

  • Neide Alves Dias De Sordi

  • Antonio Marcos Moreiras

  • Thayla Bicalho Bertolozzi

  • Francisco José Badaró Valente Neto

  • William Monteiro

  • Vitor Ferreira de Carvalho

  • Deyvid Eduardo Ferro Santos

  • Christian Becker Bueno de Abreu

  • Rodrigo Regis dos Santos

  • Nelson T. Yunaka

  • Marcelino Murro

  • Uesley Silva Correa

  • Thiago Ayub

  • Marcos Rogério Silva Pinto


To append your signature to this letter, kindly complete the form, which can be accessed here



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