Research Notes

Telecom regulation should be evidence-based and implemented with transparency. The reality of BEREC is that net neutrality rules are made behind closed doors and driven by the ideology of a few regulators from a small group of European countries

Strand Consult has for many years followed how net neutrality rules have been made in over 50 countries and has published extensively in this area. Strand Consult documents that the “public consultations” conducted by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) are perfunctory exercises conducted to gather support for its pre-determined outcomes.

In these three new research notes Strand Consult observes that a lack of transparency is one of the major challenges in BEREC:

  1. Documentation: BEREC President Johannes Gungl’s answer to Strand Consult on transparency – 11 simple questions he declines to answer
  2. BEREC’s net neutrality process is a black box.  Strand Consult fights for transparency against regulators that like to make net neutrality rules behind closed doors 
  3. CASE: BEREC tenders a net neutrality measurement tool before it completes its evaluation of the net neutrality implementation. This proves that BEREC’s “public consultations” are just formalities. BEREC collects consultation responses so it can solicit more support for its pre-determined outcomes

Strand Consult has studied and published much about US telecom regulation. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC), with its ex parte requirement that any written or verbal communications to the FCC meant to influence policy must be publicly disclosed, has a significantly higher transparency standard than the EU’s BEREC which masks the identity of its key stakeholders and redacts their comments from freedom of information disclosures. There are many myths about the US and EU in telecom regulation, particularly about the US process on net neutrality. Strand Consult described what has actually happened in these two research notes:

  1. The press claims that the American telecom regulator FCC killed the free Internet. Is it true?
  2. Net neutrality in US vs. EU: BEREC digs in while American FCC transitions oversight to FTC. The consequences for operators, content providers, and consumers

The EU declares that its net neutrality rules are designed to protect end users and to promote innovation. In some three years since their passage, neither of these goals have been realized. End user rights have been abridged by regulators imposing their preferences on consumers, as a number of European courts have concluded. Google, Netflix and other American platforms have gained even greater market power as a result of price controls conferred by the regulation. Moreover no new European startup, patent, or innovation can be attributed to the EU legislation or BEREC implementation.

If European telecom regulation was working, the EU would not be missing €150 billion to reach its 2025 connectivity goals. If the EU’s regulation was working, the EU would not continue to fall behind the US and East Asia. Around year 2000, the EU had 6 mobile phone manufacturers, strong telecom companies which invested more than any other region, and was the center of mobile wireless innovation. All that disappeared because of misguided telecom regulation. Europe has been on the wrong track for years, and it’s going from bad to worse.

To see what’s happening behind closed doors in BEREC’s net neutrality process, get Strand Consult’s report based upon months of collecting freedom of information requests. Order Strand Consult’s report Net Neutrality in EU after 1 Year: Unintended Consequences for operators, content providers, and consumers. Get the report so that you can participate intelligently in BEREC’s consultation closing April 25.

Contact Strand Consult for more information of its report Net Neutrality in EU after 1 Year: Unintended Consequences for operators, content providers, and consumers.

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