The Brazilian telecommunications regulator, Anatel, has announced a second round of consultations on the “fair share” debate to be opened in January 2024. Following discussions in Europe, Anatel initiated a Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) on the subject, commencing its first consultation in March 2023. This initial consultation received 627 contributions from private companies, civil society organisations, and academia, serving as a reference for the recently announced second round of consultations.
Based on a preliminary analysis of first round results and following the RIA process, Anatel highlighted a situation-problem concerning the “risks of imbalance between telecom service providers and Value-Added Services (VAS) providers, potentially affecting connectivity and the digital ecosystem”. This, however, is just an initial step aimed at identifying and determining whether there is indeed a regulatory issue that needs to be addressed.
The concept of fair contribution or network fee primarily involves large telecommunications companies, as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), urging Content and Application Providers (CAPs) to contribute to the costs associated with internet infrastructure expansion and maintenance due to the traffic they generate. This approach particularly targets Large Traffic Generators, such as Big Tech companies. Nonetheless, the potential spillover effects on other stakeholders, including end-users, remain unclear if this policy were to be implemented. Access Partnership has just published an analysis related to this here (English version) and here (Spanish version).
In Brazil, various civil society organisations have joined forces to launch an online campaign against the network fee proposal. The “Internet sem pedágio” (Internet without tolls) campaign, led by ITS Rio and supported by the Internet Society and its Brazilian Chapter (ISOC-BR), says the proposal goes against the very nature of internet dynamics and repels innovation. Additionally, in a recent initiative on 6 December, tech companies and internet industry associations formed an “Alliance for an Open Internet”. According to their website, the alliance stands for “a free, neutral, and toll-free internet for Brazilians”, firmly opposing the network tax proposal defended by major telecom companies, citing its contradiction with the public interest of Brazilians.
Following the second round of consultations, Anatel intends to continue the discussion in the RIA procedure with evidence-based analysis to confirm the existence of a regulatory problem and assess the potential impacts that regulation on this matter might entail.
Access Partnership is closely monitoring the development of this discussion in Brazil and Latin America. For more information on the subject and on how it may impact your organisation, please contact Paula Real at [email protected] or Geusseppe Gonzalez at [email protected].