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The explosive growth of over-the-top (OTT) services has disrupted the telecommunications market by boosting competition and by creating a phenomenal traffic load on the transport pipes of ISPs. Network providers are using traffic differentiation to manage the increased volume and distribute the cost of additional capacity, which has raised equal-access concerns among online content and service providers and consumers. As many governments around the world strive to address the issue, regulators are grappling with how to maintain Internet equality without discouraging sector growth.
- The rapid uptake of OTT services globally is a major driver of the growth in data traffic for broadband providers. Popular OTT applications have disrupted the traffic management models of ISPs by exponentially expanding the volume of content carried over the Internet. The increased data load has created challenges for ISPs, which are coming up with methods for managing congestion.
- Traffic management by ISPs has prompted governments to intervene to ensure Internet traffic equality. The need for government intervention to achieve a neutral Internet has been debated for a long time. Since the rise of the public Internet, governments have been weighing the merits of regulating such an expansive space against the risks of curtailing freedom.
- Regulators must recognize the factors that enable a sustainable net neutrality program. A concerted implementation plan is needed to push forward the net neutrality agenda and attain sustainable progress. Some key enablers are identified based on each country's level of stakeholder cooperation and its progress in averting neutrality breaches.
- Network operators must seek ways to partner with OTT content and app providers. In the past few years, a number of MNOs have chosen to partner with OTT service and app providers, as an alternative or parallel strategy to rolling out proprietary Internet applications. OTT partnerships reduce the time to market for the operators aiming to launch new Internet-based services.
- Participation in multi-stakeholder initiatives can help ISPs engage in the policy-setting process of their respective countries. By participating in such initiatives, broadband operators can boost their influence and make sure their technical and economic interests are considered in the development of net neutrality rules.
The explosive growth of over-the-top (OTT) services has disrupted the telecommunications market by boosting competition and by creating a phenomenal traffic load on the transport pipes of ISPs. Network providers are using traffic differentiation to manage the increased volume and distribute the cost of additional capacity, which has raised equal-access concerns among online content and service providers and consumers. As many governments around the world strive to address the issue, regulators are grappling with how to maintain Internet equality without discouraging sector growth.?OTT Services: Collaborative Regulation Can Promote Internet Neutrality? offers an in-depth examination of the main regulatory models and strategies adopted around the world to safeguard the neutrality of the Internet, highlighting the interests and viewpoints of the different stakeholders in the debate and the challenges facing regulators in establishing a system that works for all. The Report's analysis provides specific examples of prevalent regulatory models through case studies of Brazil, Chile, the European Union, France, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States, with a focus on the particular developments and challenges of each market.
The Report is structured as follows:
- Section 1: Dynamics shaping the OTT environment. This section provides an overview of the three key growth segments within the OTT services sector as well as the threats and opportunities that OTT services present for network operators.
- Section 2: Ecosystem player views Here we explore the perspectives of the various stakeholders in the global net neutrality debate, focusing on their views on what net neutrality means and the government's role in ensuring an open and neutral Internet.
- Section 3: Case studies - Approaches to regulating net neutrality. Seven jurisdictions are examined more closely: the European Union, Brazil, Chile, France, South Korea, the United Kingdom and the United States. Each case study offers detailed analysis of the trajectory and approach taken toward net neutrality regulation, the progress made in recent years and the challenges going forward.
- Section 4: Key findings and recommendations. We conclude with a summary of our findings on the impetus for net neutrality and key regulatory models being adopted around the world, as well as specific recommendations for network operators looking to increase their participation in the net neutrality policymaking process and the OTT market.
- 'OTT Services: Collaborative Regulation Can Promote Internet Neutrality' provides a comprehensive analysis of key regulatory models for Internet neutrality that are being adopted across the world, helping executives at MNOs, fixed telcos and pay-TV providers make informed strategic decisions and develop effective partnerships in the OTT arena.
- The Report's forward-looking analysis of key trends in OTT services helps providers assess the potential impact of OTTs on their business and identify related opportunities. The case studies focus on how governments and other stakeholders in seven developed and emerging markets have approached the net neutrality debate, allowing executives to refine their expectations for regulatory outcomes.
- By understanding the interests and positions of the main stakeholders in the net neutrality debate - government, end users, content providers and ISPs - telecom professionals can develop strategies to ensure their respective needs are addressed in upcoming regulatory cycles.
- The Report's recommendations are based on real strategies employed by network operators to position themselves to influence more effectively the net neutrality laws in their respective markets, and to increase their participation in the ever-growing OTT services market. Network operators can benefit from strategies such as partnering with OTT players, collaborating with regulators, joining multi-stakeholder initiatives and forging coalitions with consumer and content provider advocacy groups.
Exhibit 1: Study scope
Exhibit 2: Main types of OTT services
Exhibit 3: Net neutrality definitions from selected stakeholders
Exhibit 4: Online service providers' shares of fixed-access Internet traffic in North America
Exhibit 5: Top players in OTT mobile messaging
Exhibit 6: Top OTT voice providers worldwide
Exhibit 7: Impact of OTT growth on network providers
Exhibit 8: Alternative views on net neutrality regulation
Exhibit 9: Governments' balancing act
Exhibit 10: Principles advocated by ISPs
Exhibit 11: Principles advocated by Internet users
Exhibit 12: Principles advocated by OTT service providers
Exhibit 13: Case study markets by initial regulatory approach to net neutrality
Exhibit 14: Scope of net neutrality regulation in selected countries
Exhibit 15: The UK's path to net neutrality regulation
Exhibit 16: The UK's collaborative approach
Exhibit 17: Netflix ISP speed index, UK, Nov 2015
Exhibit 18: France's path to net neutrality
Exhibit 19: ARCEP's focus areas, 2010-2015
Exhibit 20: CNNum's framework proposal, France
Exhibit 21: South Korea's path to net neutrality regulation
Exhibit 22: KakaoTalk users, Q1 2013 to Q2 2015
Exhibit 23: Netflix streaming subscriber growth, globally
Exhibit 24: The path to net neutrality in the US
Exhibit 25: FCC net neutrality rules, 2015
Exhibit 26: Plaintiffs in 2015 net neutrality lawsuits
Exhibit 27: The European Union's path to net neutrality
Exhibit 28: Trajectory of the EU's net neutrality regulatory package
Exhibit 29: EU net neutrality at a glance
Exhibit 30: Chile's path to net neutrality regulation
Exhibit 31: Virgin Mobile free bundled app offer
Exhibit 32: Average broadband speeds, Latin America
Exhibit 33: Brazil's path to net neutrality regulation
Exhibit 34: Most frequently used OTT apps, Brazil
Exhibit 35: Divergent views of net neutrality, Brazil
Exhibit 36: Common principles
Exhibit 37: Policy enablers