End of Net Neutrality?

Thank you Andrew for contextualising net neutrality in our case. And Ali,
yes a localised definition is very necessary before we find ourselves
fighting someone else’s battle while our home is in flames.

Just to add to Andrew’s call for policy direction- it’s also important that
the resultant policy or legislative action be specific and concise as
opposed to just alluding to principles of fair competition and an open
internet.

Looking at the net neutrality provision in the draft revised policy-

‘*A net neutrality policy may need to be developed to ensure fair
competition between different content and service providers. However, a
blanket open Internet policy could inadvertently undermine key policy
objectives such as the promotion of innovation local content production and
universal service*’

Doesn’t quite say much as I’m certain the intention was for there to be a
seperate document on net neutrality. None of the Bills in Parliament
currently even attempt to address the issue as well. Which raises another
concern – it’s taking a bit too long to enact legislation or even to have a
Policy document adopted in the Internet space (Data Protection Bill is a
good example). How long then would it take to come up with a comprehensive
position on net neutrality even if we were to merely look at it from a
competition point of view?

Regards.

On Sat, 16 Dec 2017 at 08:27, Ali Hussein via kictanet <
kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:

> Andrew
>
> You have articulated the issue very well. Something that this list has
> done consistently for the last five years..With almost no response from
> regulators and policy makers except for some off the cuff remarks by some
> government officials.
>
> It is time this country, as an African Leader in Tech showed some
> leadership and direction on this matter. I have often said that Net
> Neutrality from an African perspective needs to be defined differently as
> we have different problems to the West.
>
> It’s never too late to start.
>
> I challenge ourselves and the government to rise to the occasion.
>
> Regards
>
> *Ali Hussein*
>
> *Principal*
>
> *Hussein & Associates*
>
>
>
> Tel: +254 713 601113
>
> Twitter: @AliHKassim
>
> Skype: abu-jomo
>
> LinkedIn: ke.linkedin.com/in/alihkassim
>
>
>
> 13th Floor , Delta Towers, Oracle Wing,
>
> Chiromo Road, Westlands,
>
> Nairobi, Kenya.
>
> Any information of a personal nature expressed in this email are purely
> mine and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of the
> organizations that I work with.
>
> On Sat, Dec 16, 2017 at 5:12 AM, Andrew Alston via kictanet <
> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>
>> Hi All,
>>
>>
>>
>> So – I have kinda hesitated to wade into the net neutrality debate – but
>> having given it a lot of thought – I need to state that what follows is
>> entirely a personal perspective – and I have to start this with a
>> disclaimer – to state that the views expressed below are personal – and not
>> necessarily the views of any organisation to which I am affiliated (though
>> also not necessarily contrary to those views either).
>>
>>
>>
>> Firstly – in my eyes – it is kind of ironic that our own lack of content
>> generation on the continent is the one thing that is saving us from dealing
>> with massive net neutrality debates, yet at the same time, the one area
>> that is stunted by our lack of action on net neutrality. Now, let me
>> unpack that a bit:
>>
>>
>>
>> 1. When all content is externally created – the ISP’s are not going
>> to preference one over the other – there is no incentive to do so – we are
>> the middle men to supply our users access to the content they desire – and
>> provide the best experience possible for that content – and to start
>> picking and choosing content would be certain death – because users would
>> simply go where they could get the content they wanted where it wasn’t
>> being screwed with – so this helps us.
>> 2. However – we also talk constantly about content creation – and if
>> we create content that is successful – this situation will change – and
>> change fast – and if we aren’t prepared for those changes – we could be in
>> trouble.
>>
>>
>>
>> Now – with a.) and b.) in mind about specific content – let me now
>> contradict myself – and say that we are already violating net neutrality in
>> the market on a massive scale – to the detriment of development on the
>> continent. So – what do I mean by this:
>>
>>
>>
>> 1. There is zero rating going on – it is used to attract customers.
>> Mobile networks zero rate whatsapp, or zero rate facebook, or zero rate
>> youtube – this is a violation of neutrality – and it is **BAD** for
>> the local market.
>> 2. The moment one network zero rates – others will follow – and
>> forget the stance on net neutrality – this is business reality. If it
>> comes to a choice a network has to make between a violation of net
>> neutrality vs losing all the customers and going bust – net neutrality is
>> going to lose – all day – every day. This is also actually necessary –
>> because if net neutrality forces ISP’s into a non-profitable position –
>> they cannot invest and grow the penetration levels in the market. As such,
>> unless there is legislation forcing an equal footing for everyone –
>> violations of neutrality are inevitable and necessary. Because anything
>> else leads to a non-equal playing field and violations of neutrality become
>> a competitive advantage. This is part of the reasons why so many ISP’s will
>> remain silent on the subject of neutrality – they want the ability to zero
>> rate to give themselves competitive advantage. And as much as the content
>> providers sit and wave the neutrality flag – it must be pointed out that in
>> the case of zero rating – they are as guilty as any other party. I point
>> out that in India – facebook was ruled against for violation of neutrality
>> for zero rating.
>>
>>
>>
>> So – now let’s tie the two sections above together.
>>
>>
>>
>> Lack of content generation saves us from the standard net neutrality
>> debate – but – we are violating net neutrality through allowing networks to
>> zero rate types of traffic – and at the same time – and this is the kicker
>> – killing off content generation by allowing zero rating to continue. And
>> here is why:
>>
>>
>>
>> If an individual comes up with an idea for the next facebook, the next
>> youtube, the next whatsapp, the next – they
>> rely on the fact that when they take it online – users will accept ir or
>> reject it based on the quality of the application. In a situation where
>> networks are zero rating specific apps to attract customers – this
>> situation is no longer reality. Because now, your content creators are
>> competing against apps that users can access **free of charge** while
>> their new start up apps – require people to pay to access them – in the
>> form of speed caps, data bundles etc.
>>
>>
>>
>> So – we already have a net neutrality problem – and we need to do
>> something about it – and I personally would love to see some proposed
>> legislation to address this problem. Kenya may be well advised to look at
>> the stance that India has taken on this – where zero rating has been
>> outlawed – and net neutrality is forced by law. I personally think work on
>> this would be far more beneficial to the industry than wasting our time
>> with an ICT practitioner bill which so many worked so hard to defeat and is
>> now rearing its head again – despite the fact that it represents a far
>> greater danger to the Kenyan industry than any violation of net neutrality
>> ever will.
>>
>>
>>
>> These are just my personal thoughts – and I will also state – as someone
>> involved in strategy for a major continent wide network – and having fought
>> for a free and open internet for years – I am more than willing to engage
>> on this subject and contribute to any debate or meetings around this. So –
>> if I can offer anything to the neutrality debate – I’m here – and available
>> any time ☺
>>
>>
>>
>> Andrew
>>
>>
>>
>> *From: *kictanet >> liquidtelecom.com@lists.kictanet.or.ke> on behalf of “Wamathai
>> (HapaKenya) via kictanet” <kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>
>> *Reply-To: *KICTAnet ICT Policy Discussions <
>> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke>
>> *Date: *Friday, 15 December 2017 at 13:16
>> *To: *Andrew Alston <Andrew.Alston@liquidtelecom.com>
>> *Cc: *”Wamathai (HapaKenya)” <w@hapakenya.com>
>> *Subject: *Re: [kictanet] End of Net Neutrality?
>>
>>
>>
>> A lot of creators, platforms etc will be affected in the absence of net
>> neutrality. For this reason, I feel different actors in the space should
>> join forces and lobby.
>>
>>
>>
>> On 15 Dec 2017 08:43, “Bernard Kioko via kictanet” <
>> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>>
>> Thank you Ali.
>>
>> Reading your response has got me wondering, as an industry which
>> organization/association do we use to lobby ?
>>
>> On Fri, 15 Dec 2017 at 07:19, Ali Hussein <ali@hussein.me.ke> wrote:
>>
>> Bernard
>>
>>
>>
>> We in Africa first need to acknowledge Net Neutrality as a concept. Today
>> ONLY one country in Africa (Senegal) has even attempted to enact policy and
>> regulation around it. We have ways to go.
>>
>>
>>
>> Kenya, with all our advances have turned a blind eye to it. We need to
>> wake up. This list has consistently for the last 5 years talked about the
>> need to address this issue from a policy and regulatory framework.
>>
>>
>>
>> We have been met with utter silence. The first time this issue was
>> mentioned was in the defunct/dead as a dodo/aborted ICT Policy 2016. And we
>> know (or rather don’t know!) what happened to that document.
>>
>>
>>
>> My take?
>>
>>
>>
>> The free for all, do what you want and we (regulator and policy makers)
>> will just watch helplessly coz after all Net Neutrality is a foreign
>> concept. We don’t understand it. And neither are we bothered. Let the
>> Googles, Facebooks and Netflixes of this world fight it out with their FCC.
>>
>>
>>
>> It doesn’t affect us..
>>
>> *Ali Hussein*
>>
>> *Principal*
>>
>> *Hussein & Associates*
>>
>> +254 0713 601113
>>
>>
>>
>> Twitter: @AliHKassim
>>
>> Skype: abu-jomo
>>
>> LinkedIn: ke.linkedin.com/in/alihkassim
>>
>>
>>
>> “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a
>> habit.” ~ Aristotle
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> Sent from my iPad
>>
>>
>> On 15 Dec 2017, at 6:30 AM, Bernard Kioko via kictanet <
>> kictanet@lists.kictanet.or.ke> wrote:
>>
>>
>> money.cnn.com/2017/12/14/technology/net-neutrality-repeal-explainer/index.html
>>
>>
>>
>> Interested to see thoughts on how this affects Kenya. I am thinking maybe
>> hosting locally could avoid this, which would mean growth for local…
>>
>>
>>
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