SA to enforce net neutrality rules - TechCentral

SA to enforce net neutrality rules


Government plans to enforce network neutrality on South African telecommunications operators and service providers to “ensure that all lawful and legal Internet traffic is treated equally, without discrimination, restriction or interference”.

The plan is contained in the national integrated ICT policy white paper, which will be published this week in the Government Gazette. The white paper will be used as the basis for crafting new legislation and amending existing laws.

“Government is committed to promoting net neutrality to preserve the free Internet and preempt possible unfair treatment by intermediaries,” the white paper says.

The sector regulator — currently the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa — will be required to hold an inquiry, in consultation with the competition authorities, into the extent to which regulatory intervention is required to uphold the principles of an open Internet, the document says.

“This should include an assessment of whether any unfair discriminatory practices are likely to be used in future and a review of horizontal and vertical integration and concentration across the Internet value chain.”

The regulator must make proposals and recommendations to the minister of telecommunications & postal services on whether changes to legislation will be required to reinforce net neutrality and, if so, what amendments will be necessary.

Among other things, the policy directs the regulator to consider if it will be necessary to introduce rules or guidelines on zero-rating, barring, throttling or paid prioritisation of traffic and, if so, what exclusions to this would be in the public interest (such as zero-rating of access to defined public interest content and services).

The objectives of the net neutrality framework, according to the white paper, include promoting the Internet as a platform for freedom of expression, access to information, innovation and economic growth as well as protecting the rights of users to freely access legal content, applications and services on the Internet and barring intermediaries from unreasonably interfering with or in any way disadvantaging users’ access to the Internet.

Another objective includes barring prioritisation of some traffic over other traffic in exchange for payment or other benefit of any kind. The framework must also allow providers to put in place reasonable traffic management practices to enhance quality of service for users while ensuring transparent and easily understandable information about such practices.  — © 2016 NewsCentral Media


  1. Greg Mahlknecht on

    Say goodbye to cheap internet – without the ability to traffic shape, ISPs use their most valuable tool to drive prices down.

  2. I’m pretty sure current shaping is reasonable. Net neutrality is normally more focused on prioritisation or differentiated pricing depending on who is at the endpoint, rather than the traffic type. Current shaping that most ISPs do is done by traffic type and does not discriminate based on who is at either end of the traffic.

  3. This is being done by the same political party that has the “Department of the regulation of information.” The same political party that is implementing laws to stop access to Facebook, Twitter, and anything else they deem to be their enemy. The same political party that wants CCTV cameras in EVERY room in every home and building so they can monitor who is saying and doing what. The same politicalparty that wants nuclear power in SA to enrich themselves, it is NOT for the ciuntry whos economy they have single handedly destroyed. Not even the Soviet Union and China are this bad. The people can do something, but they are too busy on this “we have freedom” line while living with oppression worse than apartheid!

© 2009 – 2019 NewsCentral Media