Swiss organisation Dispute Resolution Network Neutrality reports no disputes in 2018

Dispute Resolution Network Neutrality, a Swiss mediation organisation for resolving network neutrality cases, has not received any complaint or resolved any dispute concerning violation of the network neutrality principle during the whole year of 2018. The organisation has two possible explanations for that. Either consumers successfully resolve the issues immediately after addressing their operators, or they have a low awareness of their rights concerning network neutrality.

The organisation Dispute Resolution Network Neutrality was established upon the initiative of the association of communication networks Suissedigital and the operators: Salt, Sunrise, Swisscom and UPC Switzerland. The objective of the organisation is to resolve disputes which may eventually arise because of a violation of network neutrality principles, although the operators have obliged themselves to comply with those principles. Consumers shall have a possibility to report such violations and seek remedies.

Net neutrality means that operators shall handle all data traffic in non-discriminatory and non-preferential manner. However, some time-sensitive services require a network management for proper functioning. These include emergency services, VoIP, video telephony and IPTV. When there is a risk of a network overload, the network operator may adopt measures to prioritise time-sensitive applications. There are different views about such exceptions and the measures which are admissible for network management.

Based on the adopted rules, the dispute resolution organisation shall only be addressed after the consumer addresses his provider and fails to reach an agreement. A satisfactory action taken by ISP might be a reason, why no disputes landed at the arbitration body. To get a better picture, the dispute resolution organisation has asked the operators to report on the number and details of network neutrality complaints from their customers.

Another reason, why there were no network neutrality disputes, is that consumers are either little aware of the principle or the network neutrality requirement does not have a practical impact on their internet usage.

Particularly controversial are the so-called zero rating offers. In its position paper of 2016, the arbitrary organisation called upon the network operators to critically view and differentiate the impacts of zero rating on technological innovation. At the beginning of 2019, the organisation asked the operators to share their experience with zero-rating, in particular regarding technological innovations and entrepreneurial freedom. The findings shall be subsequently published, analysed and discussed.

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