Framework on Net Neutrality in Trinidad and Tobago

The global hype around net neutrality has lessened but it remains an important consideration. I like this definition from the EFF website - net neutrality is the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks fairly, without improper discrimination in favor of particular apps, sites or services.

Net neutrality is mentioned in our National ICT plan and was assigned to public administration and TATT. In todays papers TATT put out an ad requesting feedback on their Framework on Net Neutrality in Trinidad and Tobago document as part of their consultation process.

According to the document, the topic of net neutrality has been prominent in global policy discussions for decades. It says that at the heart of these discussions lies the importance of the open internet, which has unequivocally driven innovation, commerce, individual expression and competition. On the one hand we have the need for an open internet and on the other hand we have the need for incentives for network operators to invest and then freedom to optimise their networks. TATT is wanting to create a balanced framework that takes everyones needs into consideration.

In my opinion the need for an open internet far outweighs the gripes of the network operators and I feel that the network operators can get by comfortably with strong net neutrality rules. I had a question that I emailed TATT on - Is the framework a guide that can be disregarded or are these rules that must be followed where TATT can take action? What are some of the actions that TATT can take?

The document talks about the effects on consumers and network operators and about monitoring for discrimination but does not talk about measuring effects. We should identify some measurable effects so that after the implementation of the framework we can point to these numbers and say that the framework is having a negative or positive effect and make adjustments as needed. How do we measure that the objectives outlined in the document are being met as the framework is reviewed periodically. That would be my one feedback.


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