ARTICLE: EU - INTERNET - NET NEUTRALITY - ZERO RATING

NRAs decisions: Zero rating and net neutrality challenges

The purpose of this paper is to identify policy and regulatory implications of a recent commercial practice called zero rating. Zero rating describes a situation whereby internet service providers do not calculate the data volume consumed for accessing particular online content, applications or services against the user’s limited monthly data volume. This paper presents a summary of positions taken so far by several European national regulatory authorities towards mobile operators zero-rated offers, as well as providing a first insight into the potential regulatory, competition law, and consumer protection challenges raised by the practice of zero rating.

I. Introduction 1. Zero rating is a commercial practice where providers of internet access do not count the data volume consumed for accessing particular content, applications or services against the user’s limited monthly data volume. Since limits on data consumption are relatively uncommon for fixed broadband subscriptions, zero rating is mainly relevant for the mobile sector. Although zero-rating offers have only recently emerged, the spread of the practice among internet service providers and its potential inconsistency with net neutrality rules have caught the attention of both the European Commission and national regulatory authorities (NRAs). [1] 2. Zero-rating practices can be classified according to the relationship between the content and application provider (CAP) and the

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Carlo Edoardo Cazzato, Stefano De Luca, NRAs decisions: Zero rating and net neutrality challenges, May 2018, Concurrences Review N° 2-2018, Art. N° 86849, www.concurrences.com

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