internet lab | Podcast Season: 1 - Episode: 16 / Release date: 9-2-2023

1:1 with Joan Barata
Stanford University

Key Quotes

"We need to keep in mind the fact that big telcos (...) used to hold the position of monopolies in the telecoms market in the not so far away past, and this monopoly was protected by state regulation."
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"I believe that telcos need to see this as (...) a big opportunity to offer more [and] better services, and to make more money (...): they have become even more important than in the past."
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"[Network fees] may create strong connections between Big Tech and telcos, and these may have a negative impact on markets [and] competition, and will create entry barriers and (...) may endanger small businesses that want to enter the market."
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"[Network fees] may foster a certain process of balkanization of the Internet, because we need to take into account that telecom companies basically operate at the national level."
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"[Network fees] may also disincentivize technological innovation, (...) new applications that make an intensive use of data may have problems to be deployed (...) if these restrictions and these payment obligations are introduced."
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"The adoption of [network fees] may have negative implications not only in terms of the market [and] competition, but also in terms of protecting human rights and democracy at the EU level."
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"Telecoms deploy or exploit infrastructure, that's their business, and Big Tech make it profitable. (...) One cannot exist without the other, but both are separate and specialised."
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"We need to separate investment costs (...) and the costs of the increment of traffic. (...) If we mix the two of them, then the conclusion may be wrong in terms of who needs to contribute to what. (...) This analysis needs to be made."
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"It's not only about who pays the bill (...) for the deployment of 5G. (...) We need to understand that this is a discussion that one way or another affects the way we understand the Internet."
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"It's about keeping the openness of the Internet, guaranteeing equal access (...) in terms of sources of information, of different types of platforms, services, [and] applications. It's about protecting pluralism and freedom of expression online."
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"It is very important to make a proper market and economic assessment of the impact of any solution. This is something that I believe is still missing, (...) but it's also time to incorporate this very important idea of human rights impact."
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"By presenting the Media Freedom Act, the EU has expressed a particular commitment when it comes to protecting pluralism: it's time to protect it when it comes to the Internet as well. "
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About Our Guest

Dr. Joan Barata | Fellow at the Cyber Policy Center - Stanford University
Dr. Joan Barata is a Fellow at the Cyber Policy Center of Stanford University. He works on freedom of expression, media and communications regulation, and intermediary liability issues. Dr. Barata teaches at various universities in different parts of the world and has published many articles and books on these subjects, both in academic and popular press. His work has taken him to most regions of the world, and he is regularly involved in projects with international organisations such as UNESCO, the Council of Europe, the Organization of American States, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, where he was the principal advisor to the Representative on Media Freedom. Dr. Barata also has experience as a regulator, as he held the position of Secretary General of the Audiovisual Council of Catalonia in Spain and was member of the Permanent Secretariat of the Mediterranean Network of Regulatory Authorities.