Today tech giants will join the campaign to preserve rules that forbid internet providers from favouring some websites over others in a long running debate around net neutrality.

Felipe Flórez Duncan is a Partner at economics consultancy Oxera. He is Head of the Telecoms & Media team and has extensive experience in the application of competition and regulatory economics, including in abuse of dominance cases, vertical agreements, mergers, and regulatory policy and strategy. Commenting on the latest developments in the debate around net neutrality, Felipe said:

“The campaign may have attracted lots of media attention, but its impact on the ultimate policy decision is uncertain. The ability of internet service providers to discriminate against over the top (OTT) providers such as Netflix, Amazon or Facebook is real, but this does not automatically mean that legislation and detailed regulation is necessarily the right response. It's possible that the net neutrality rules could have unintended consequences and be actively used to prohibit business models and pricing structures which have the potential to create significant value for consumers.

"For example, a big debate emerged over whether zero rating – the practice of not counting certain apps such as Spotify, Pandora or Apple Music in consumers’ mobile data caps – was good for consumers or bad for those apps not included in the offers. Net neutrality rules were invoked to investigate these practices. In many countries, regulators are coming to the realisation that these practices are generally good for consumers. Similarly, pricing which reflects the congestion costs caused by certain applications may incentivise those OTT players to become more efficient at transmitting data over networks, potentially benefitting all consumers.

"The debate over net neutrality illustrates the complexity of trying to regulate in detail something as complex and fast moving as the internet. If net neutrality rules remain, they should be as light touch as possible, based on general non-discrimination principles, and requiring authorities to assess the costs and benefits of these rules.”

To arrange an interview with Felipe, please contact / 020 7637 0656