Tuesday, 17 November 2009

A quick write up of the Dutch meeting on Net Neutrality

Two weeks ago the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs organized a meeting on Net Neutrality. It was the third one already all presentations are now online. The first one was a more closed affair with economic thinktank Encore in 2006 (and a presentaton by moi)  and a more open meeting in 2007 similar to the one of Thursday. This time the occasion was the publication of a report by Dialogic on the topic. It's a very good report on net neutrality and worth the read. (It is in Dutch though)

The speakers at the meeting were:

  • Frank Heemskerk, deputy minister of Economic Affairs, (speech in English)
  • Taylor Reynolds, OECD
  • Rudi Bekkers, Dialogic, lead researcher for the report;
  • Michel van Eeten, professor TUDelft and Next Generation Infrastructures,
  • Alex Blowers, Ofcom, UK
  • Frode Sorensen, NPT, Norway 
  • Martijn van Dam, Member of Parliament for the Dutch Labour Party 
The speakers all had their interesting bits. Heemskerk was very polically vague about the topic, but not vague enough to not make sure everybody knew he wouldn't allow blatant violations of netneutrality, but where the line is is difficult. Rudi Bekkers gave a good overview of how it is very difficult to distinguish from an act that may harm netneutrality to derive the intent. Michel van Eeten was interesting as it showed how net neutrality was just a vague term that gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling. Martijn van Dam was excellent as a politician. He had a great opinion how everything should be open and freedom of speech etc. which is bound to be a press pleaser, but doesn't give you anything else. He also was of the opinion that the iPhone should be open and that companies should be barred from meddling with users rights (at which point Michel van Eeten pointed out that Van Dam is using an iPhone, hypocritical fool). Tad Reynolds showed how the debate was as much about competition as anything else. Frode Sorensen demonstrated the Norwegians ability to talk themselves out of any problem, just like the Dutch Poldermodel

I twittered the entire meeting, thanks to Swisscom who left a port open for free tweeting on their otherwise paid for wifi network.Unfortunately it seems that all is now lost as I didn't save them from Twitter.

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