Reply to post: Even when authorities are on the citizens' side, government may bow to telco lobbying

Grumble Pai: FCC boss told by House Dems to try the novel concept of putting US folks first, big biz second

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Even when authorities are on the citizens' side, government may bow to telco lobbying

There's another "net neutrality" fight in Italy. What happened is that AGCOM (more or less the equivalent of FCC) made a regulation last Summer adopting EU "net neutrality" regulation 2015/2120.

The biggest point is barring telcos to force their "terminal equipment" (modem/routers) onto users - users who have to pay them usually a few euros per month for 48 months (and have to pay the full price if the contract is rescinded earlier) - which means a lock-in, and easy money for telcos that usually overprice cheap devices (the total amount is usually around 250-300 euro). The regulation required to publish connection parameters, to allow user to rescind contracts without any fee, and to unlock devices when fully paid. Obviously the telcos tried to fight it. The attempt to quash the regulation failed so they are now attempting delaying and deceiving tactics - and soon the government started to help them.

First they obtained a delay until the beginning of this year "to upgrade the network to comply". Some threatened users if using their own devices and tried to invent their own "device approval" system which is forbidden by the law for evident conflicts of interests. Forced, they started to publish parameters but slowly, and some putting more obstacles than needed. Vodafone didn't comply yet (maybe it's hoping in Brexit?). Another way is to assert that GPON equipment is a strict part of their network, so users can't use their own ONTs for FTTH connections.

But it became surreal when the ex-monopolist, TIM, asked the "State Council" (the highest administrative court) to block the part about rescinding contracts without fees. The equivalent of the "attorney general" didn't appear at the hearing to defend the state agency regulation - without an explanation - it was up to other associations (hardware vendors and distributors, independent ISPs, and others) to defend. It was re-sent to the lower court, that surprisingly days ago said it has no time for a hearing until October 23.

There are reasons why the government would like to buy telcos consensus as it hopes to merge the company that won the bid for the new fiber network into the ex-monopolist company.... and letting them milking the users despite the agency rules could be one. And they are "populists" also, and bark against lobbies....

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