You have rightly flagged up the important debate raging in Europe and globally over the future governance of the internet (“Battle lines drawn ahead of debate on internet rules”, 6-12 September).
Whilst much coverage elsewhere has so far rightly focused on the dangers presented to freedom of speech by attempts to give governments more direct control over the internet, your article importantly highlights the debate over the economics of the net and the equally worrying proposals to give governments the right to mandate specific internet interconnection and charging models.
While some of the interconnection models mentioned in the debate (such as the ‘sending network pays' model) might be used in the future for some internet services, the internet has been working very well with a variety of different models to date and there is no economic basis for deciding that one interconnection model will always be preferable to others.
Mandatory interconnection models – along with many other forms of government interference with market forces – should belong to the past, whereas the priority of government intervention in this field should be to ensure that all citizens have access to knowledge and information at an affordable cost, without prohibitive hikes in cost of access. Hopefully the European Commission and member-state representatives representing EU in the global debate understand this fact and will therefore meet these demands.
Andrea Renda Senior Research Fellow Centre for European Policy Studies Brussels