Bern, 14.12.2012 – National Councillor Balthasar Glättli from the Swiss Green Party, and a member of ISOC-CH, has submitted a motion to make Net Neutrality a fundamental element of the Swiss legislation. The motion has been co-sponsored by National Councillors from various other parties.
The Swiss Federal Council (i.e. the Swiss Government) shall implement Net Neutrality as part of the planned partial revision of the Swiss Telecommunications Act (TCA) in order to ensure transparent and non-discriminatory data transfer over the Internet. Net Neutrality must be stated explicitly in the law as a foundation block of freedom of information and freedom of opinion and must cover fixed as well as mobile networks.
Technological progress enables providers of public electronic communication networks to actively manage Internet traffic. Thus it is no longer guaranteed that all data is treated equally. The additional report of the Federal Council regarding the Evaluation of the Swiss Telecommunication Market (March 28, 2012, more information and the report here) states clearly that there is currently no legal means to stop providers using technological means (e.g. Deep Packet Inspection) in their’s sole discretion and eventually develop business models that are based on the discrimination of specific content (e.g. prioritization of a specific TV provider by an Internet access provider)
There is urgent need for action to revise this portion of the Swiss Telecommunications Act (STA, SR 784.10). Interference with data transfer by providers threatens freedom of information and freedom of opinion, threatens future innovation and competition through potential blocking of competing Internet services/offers and compromises infrastructure competition.
Net neutrality forbids discrimination (blocking or throttling) on the basis of a specific sender/receiver, content, service, application, hard- or software. Control over reception, distribution and eventually prioritization of specific data (e.g. VOIP) must lie at the discretion of the end user. The price of Internet access must not depend on which services or applications are allowed and to which extent they are used by the end user. It remains a possibility to differentiate Internet access offers by data volume and/or bandwidth.
Exceptions for technical reasons are possible if the security of the network or if single services of the provider are affected. The providers would in this case be obliged to inform the affected users and the BAKOM/OFCOM (Swiss Office of Communication). Also reserved are juridicial orders and the prioritization of emergency organizations.
Among the co-sponsors are Carlo Sommaruga (Socialist Party), Rosmarie Quadranti (BDP), Lukas Reimann (Swiss People’s party), Kathy Riklin (Christian Democrats) and Thomas Weibel (Green Liberal party).
The original version (in German) and further information can be found here: ‘Motion für Netzneutralität eingereicht’ http://www.balthasar-glaettli.ch/2012/12/14/motion-fur-netzneutralitat-eingereicht/
For more information, here are some additional resources: