eco on Net Neutrality and Broadband Expansion

Germany’s Internet conference re:publica 13 took place on 6-8 May 2013 in Berlin, giving bloggers, activists, researchers and everybody interested in the development of the Internet the chance to discuss politics, the media, technology and Internet-related issues such as privacy, censorship and copyright. eco joined the discussion started by Deutsche Telekom. The country’s largest Internet provider had announced earlier that its ‘flat rate’ plans would no longer be true flat rates. Users would be granted significantly lower Internet speeds after they had used up their monthly quotas.

Klaus Landefeld, eco Chairman Infrastructure and Networks, called this idea a ‘problem for the information society’ and a backwards move towards the early days of the Internet. Users would have to think twice before clicking on any link. In this light, it is important to strengthen the commitment to net neutrality. Otherwise, the end result will be more and more services removed from the regular Internet channel and offered insteadvia special infrastructure for extra fees.

Hannah Seifert of eco’s Berlin office warned of the use of Deep Packet Inspection, DPI. Providers can not only use DPI to filter Internet traffic to identify malware or spam, they can also use it to spy on users or to censor the Internet. Seiffert also asked for a true promotion of broadband technology based on fibre-optics. The much-needed expansion of broadband networks could not happen without political support, Seiffert said.