Slovenia is one of the rare countries in the world that enacted a net neutrality provision in its law and started enforcing it in practice. The adoption of the net neutrality provisions in the Slovenian legislation and recent decisions of the regulator against violations of net neutrality by several service providers have been widely covered in Slovenian (and foreign) media – for example GIGAOM, RadioBruxellesLibera). All major media in Slovenia reported both on the adoption of the legal provision and AKOS’s decision (Agency for Communication Networks and Services of the Republic of Slovenia). The decisions have been announced to be appealed to the competent court, so they are not final.
The Slovenian ruling was about zero-rating: Telekom Slovenije has been providing free data for the music streamer Deezer, and Si.mobil for cloud storage service Hanger Mapa while other services did not benefit from this preferential treatment.
There has not been any serious opposition to the legislation and regulatory decisions by the media or expert commentators; the opposition was voiced only by the affected telecoms. The telecoms stated that price discrimination was beneficial for the consumers and that Slovenia should wait for the EU Directive before implementing net neutrality provision.
However, there have been some lay commentators voicing concerns that the services which have been very cheap will now be drastically more expensive. The Slovenian consumer organisation (Institute for Consumer Protection) commented that while the decision might at first sight be seen as bringing higher prices for the “zero rating services”, the net neutrality principle should be upheld for the benefit of consumers. The consumer organisation also warned that while the “zero rating services” have now been available for approximately 7 EUR, the same amount of data transfer could cost up to 525 EUR. In the long run, the decision is good for the consumers.
It might be interesting to note that the man who fought for these decisions to be reached and who reported the violation of net neutrality to the regulator is the chairman of the Council of AKOS (the author of the two blog posts).
Reading these two blogs can give a sense of the lobbying efforts against net neutrality regulation and its implementation: Blog No.1 (Dušan Caf) and Blog No. 2 (Dušan Caf). Info House is currently exploring just that – lobbying against net neutrality and transparency of these lobbying efforts in Slovenia.
Info House also joined the campaign to save net neutrality in the EU (savetheinternet.eu). Further blog posts and campaign activities will follow shortly.