Net Neutrality and Zero-Rating: Oral Testimony at the CRTC’s Hearing on Differential Pricing Practices Related to Internet Data Plans, November 4, 2016

Publication Type: 
Regulatory Filing
Publication Date: 
November 4, 2016
Mr. Chairman, Commissioners,
Thank you for inviting me to testify today. My name is Barbara van Schewick. I’m a Professor at Stanford Law School and the Director of the Center for Internet and Society there; I also have a courtesy appointment at Stanford’s Electrical Engineering Department. I have a PhD in computer science and a law degree. I’m here as an independent academic whose research for the past 16 years has focused on the relationship between Internet architecture, innovation and regulation. The FCC’s 2010 and 2015 Open Internet Rules relied heavily on my work. My work also informed TRAI’s 2016 Order on zero-rating and the European Union’s recently adopted guidelines implementing the European Union’s net neutrality law.
The Internet has become the critical infrastructure of our time – for our daily life, for our economy, for our democracy. In this proceeding, the CRTC will decide whether the Canadian Internet can continue to serve as a platform for free speech, innovation, and economic growth.
Zero-rating is the practice of exempting an app from a user’s monthly data plans. An application that is zero-rated does not count against a user’s data cap while all other applications continue to count against the cap. In today’s testimony, I will focus on zero-rating, but my proposal applies to all forms of differential pricing.