Legal / Regulatory Approaches to Network Neutrality:




Model Framework on Network Neutrality
(initiated by the Council of Europe and developed by the Dynamic Coalition on Network Neutrality, under the coordination of Luca Belli and Matthijs van Bergen)

1) Network neutrality is the principle according to which Internet traffic shall be treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference regardless of its sender, recipient, type or content, so that Internet users’ freedom of choice is not restricted by favouring or disfavouring the transmission of Internet traffic associated with particular content, services, applications, or devices.

2) In accordance with the network neutrality principle, Internet service providers shall refrain from discriminating, restricting, or otherwise interfering with the transmission of Internet traffic, unless such interference is strictly necessary and proportionate to:
    a) give effect to a legislative provision or court order;
    b) preserve the integrity and security of the network, services and the Internet users' terminal  equipment;
    c) prevent the transmission of unsolicited communications for direct marketing purposes to Internet users who have given their prior consent to such restrictive measures;
    d) comply with an explicit request from the subscriber, provided that this request is given freely and is not incentivised by the Internet service provider or its commercial partner;
    e) mitigate the effects of temporary and exceptional network congestion, primarily by means of application-agnostic measures or, when these measures do not prove efficient, by means of application-specific measures.

3) The network neutrality principle shall apply to all Internet access services and Internet transit services offered by ISPs, regardless of the underlying technology used to transmit signals.

4) The network neutrality principle need not apply to specialised services. Internet service providers should be allowed to offer specialised services in addition to Internet access service, provided that such offerings are not to the detriment of Internet access services, or their performance, affordability, or quality. Offerings to deliver specialised services should be provided on a non-discriminatory basis and their adoption by Internet users should be voluntary.

5) Subscribers of Internet access service have the right to receive and use a public and globally unique Internet address.

6) Any techniques to inspect or analyse Internet traffic shall be in accordance with privacy and data protection legislation. By default, such techniques should only examine header information. The use of any technique which inspects or analyses the content of communications should be reviewed by the relevant national data protection authority to assess compliance with the applicable privacy and data protection obligations.

7) Internet service providers shall provide intelligible and transparent information with regard to their traffic management practices and usage polices, notably with regard to the coexistence of Internet access service and specialised services. When network capacity is shared between Internet access services and specialised services, the criteria whereby network capacity is shared, shall be clearly stated.

8) The competent national regulatory authority shall:
    a)  be mandated to regularly monitor and report on Internet traffic management practices and usage polices, in order to ensure network neutrality, evaluate the potential impact of the aforementioned practices and policies on fundamental rights, ensure the provision of a sufficient quality of service and the allocation of a satisfactory level of network capacity to the Internet. Reporting should be done in an open and transparent fashion and reports shall be made freely available to the public;
    b)  put in place appropriate, clear, open and efficient procedures aimed at addressing network neutrality complaints. To this end, all Internet users shall be entitled to make use of such complaint procedures in front of the relevant authority;
   c)  respond to the complaints within a reasonable time and be able to use necessary measures in order to sanction thebreach of the network neutrality principle.
This authority must have the necessary resources to undertake the aforementioned duties in a timelyand effective manner.

9) Definitions
    a)  The “Internet” is the publicly accessible electronic communications network of networks that use the Internet Protocol for communication with endpoints reachable, directly or through network address translation, via a globally unique Internet address.
    b)  The expression “Internet service provider” refers to any legal person that offers Internet access service to the public or Internet transit service to another ISP.
    c)  The expression “Internet access service” refers to a publicly available electronic communications service that provides connectivity to the Internet, and thereby provides the ability to the subscriber or Internet user to receive and impart data from and to the Internet, irrespective of the underlying technology used to transmit signals.
    d)  The expression “Internet transit service” refers to the electronic communications service that provides connectivity between Internet service providers.
    e)   The expression “Internet traffic” refers to any flow of data packets transmitted through the Internet, regardless of the application or device that generated it.
    ​f)   The expression “specialised services” refers to electronic communications services that are provided and operated within closed electronic communications networks using the Internet Protocol, but not being part of the Internet. The expression “closed electronic communications networks” refers to networks that rely on strict admission control.
    g)  The expression “application-agnostic” refers to Internet traffic management practices, measures and techniques that do not depend on the characteristics of specific applications, content, services, devices and uses.
    h)  The expression “subscriber” refers to the natural or legal person who has entered into an agreement with an Internet service provider to receiveInternet access service.
    j)   The expression “Internet user” refers to the natural or legal person who is using Internet access service, and in that capacity has the freedom to impart and receive information, and to use or offer applications and services through devices of their choice. The Internet user may be the subscriber, or any person to whom the subscriber has granted the right to use the Internet access service s/he receives. Any legal person offering content and/or applications on the Internet is also an Internet user.

Network Neutrality: an Ongoing Regulatory Debate

2nd Annual Report of the Dynamic Coalition

Edited by Luca Belli & Primavera De Filippi (2014)

Preface by Vinton G. Cerf


Dynamic Coalition

The Value of Network Neutrality for the Internet of Tomorrow
Report of the Dynamic Coalition on Network Neutrality

Edited by Luca Belli & Primavera De Filippi (2013)
Preface by Marietje Schaake

Net neutrality reloaded: zero rating, specialised service, ad blocking and traffic management.   [PDF here]

Edited by Luca Belli (2016). FGV Direito Rio. Preface by Tim Wu

Net Neutrality Compendium.

Human Rights, Free Competition and the Future of the Internet

(2015 Annual Report included in Part III of the volume)

​Edited by Luca Belli & Primavera De Filippi
Preface by Vinton G. Cerf  |  Postface by Louis Pouzin