Maria Goméz Rodríguez (Madrid/Catalonia) gave a student seminar on net neutrality, Ex ante or ex post control: Net Neutrality in Europe. She situated her research in the timeline of European telecommunications regulation (and spoke on the history of such), and compared ex ante (regulatory – in advance) approaches with ex post (competition / “antitrust” – after the event) approaches. Maria will be looking at jurisprudence on access (the Access Directive) and broadband in general, and hopes to offer some kind of prediction as to the future regulation of net neutrality in Europe. It’s a topic that is very badly covered, but I think it’s important, and was looking forward to this talk a lot.

We had an interesting question and answer session. Important points included the danger of regulatory flight (Delaware effect, arbitrage, etc), the balance between DG Competition and DG Information Society (and indeed the internal tensions between the telecoms and other elements of Information Society!), the prospect of root splitting and how it would affect the neutrality debate, the questions around what significant market power is (in this context), and the ‘wait and see’ approached preferred by many in the Commission, watching how the US debate turns out.

Some of those participating criticised the length of time that competition cases take (citing the Microsoft litigation,where the ‘problem’ was quite quaint by the time that a final resolution was close), and the lack of precision in defining net neutrality (which is of course connected with ascertaining a solution). (Maria used the OECD definitions – but there are still three of them!)

More on today’s privacy sessions later this evening…