Laws are introduced and passed in the Parliament of Trinidad and Tobago which consists of the President of Trinidad and Tobago and two bodies, a House of Representatives and a Senate. The House of Representatives has forty one (41) elected representatives of the constituencies in Trinidad and Tobago. The Senate has 31 senators appointed by the President, sixteen on the advice of the Prime Minister ; six on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition; and nine Independents appointed by the President.
Proposed laws are introduced in either in the House of Representatives or in the Senate as a Bill (Note: certain types of Bills known as “Money Bills” cannot be introduced in the Senate) . The Bill is debated and after a vote, is passed with or without amendments. This Bill (as passed) is then introduced in the other chamber of Parliament where it is similarly debated, possibly amended and voted on.
If there are no amendments to the Bill in the second chamber, then the Bill is passed.
If there are amendments to the Bill in the second chamber, the amendments have to be voted by the chamber where the Bill was first introduced.
Once the Bill in its final form has been approved by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the Bill as passed becomes an Act. Depending on the the legislation, the Act comes into effect on the Date of Assent, and/or when proclaimed by the President.
The Trinidad and Tobago Computer Society (TTCS) will be having a F2F meeting on Saturday October 13 2018 from 1pm at Engineering Consultants, 112A Edward Street (corner of Oxford and Edward Streets), Port of Spain.
What is Net Neutrality? From Wikipedia: Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers treat all data on the Internet equally, and not discriminate or charge differently by user, content, website, platform, application, type of attached equipment, or method of communication.
About Over the Top Services (OTT)
OTT refers to “services that a customer may use which rides on top of a network to which the customer is connected” (CANTO, 2014) – which covers anything that is sent and received over the Internet from webpages to email to Voice over IP (VoIP) and video chat services (like Skype, Whatsapp, Google Duo), Messaging services (like Whatsapp, Apple iMessage, Google Allo) to video and audio streaming (like YouTube, Netflix, Facebook Video).
About TATT’s discussion paper on net neutrality and OTT Services in Trinidad and Tobago
In TATT’s discussion paper, TATT proposes several guiding principles and policy recommendations for Net Neutrality and OTT Services in Trinidad and Tobago. These proposed principles and recomendations WILL impact current and future Internet users and businesses in Trinidad and Tobago in how we use the Internet. Please therefore read the discussion paper and contribute to the TTCS response to the discussion paper (Google doc, no login needed) before October 12 2018 by following the links below, and read about TATT’s proposed principles and recommendations for Net Neutrality and OTT Services.
TATT proposed Guiding Principles for Net Neturality
Principle 1: Reasonable Traffic Management
The Authority recognises that well-functioning broadband networks require operators to manage their networks reasonably.
Traffic management techniques that are reasonable and serve to address specific needs should be allowed.
Principle 2: No Unreasonable Discrimination
The Authority proposes net neutrality rules that specifically prohibit network operators from intentionally downgrading and/or blocking lawful content, applications and/or services.
Discriminatory practices may be allowed for societal issues such as: bridging the digital divide, public safety, emergency situations, law enforcement and national security issues, and child pornography.
Principle 3: Encouraging Investment
Net neutrality policy decisions should ensure that market opportunities and investment prospects are not unduly disrupted.
Net neutrality policy decisions should encourage a climate of regulatory certainty that incentivises investment, e.g., through sector stability and the expectation of reasonable rates of return on investment opportunities.
Principle 4: Transparency
Network operators should disclose their network practices inclusive of traffic management practices and application-specific behaviour.
The disclosure of traffic management information that is commercially sensitive in nature, or which may compromise the security of a network, should be exempted from the principle of transparency.
Principle 5: Promoting Local Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Any policy framework on net neutrality should be guided by the stimulation of local innovation and entrepreneurship.
TATT’s proposed policy recommendations for net neutrality
On Blocking and Throttling
An ISP should not prevent (through blocking) end users from freely accessing and/or providing lawful information, content, services and applications.
Subject to the principle of reasonable traffic management, an ISP should not intentionally restrict, alter, degrade or impair specific content, services or applications.
On Paid Prioritisation and Zero-Rated Pricing
The Authority proposes penalising harmful and proven offences as opposed to the absolute banning of paid prioritisation and zero-rating practices.
Each case should be evaluated on its individual merit and regulatory action would only be warranted where there is violation of one or more of the guiding principles.
Classification 1: Functionally Equivalent OTT Services
OTTs which are functionally equivalent to traditional services and use numbering resources to connect to the PSTN [Public Switch Telephone Network] should be regulated in the same manner as traditional telecommunications services.
Amendments to the Authority’s Authorisation Framework will be required to reflect classification 1 OTT services.
Classification 2: Other OTT Services
The Authority may consider taking a light-handed regulatory approach to OTT services not requiring numbering or spectrum resources.
Amendments to the Authority’s Authorisation Framework will be required to reflect classification 2 OTT services.
General regulatory controls should be applied to these services. These include, inter alia, cybersecurity, data protection, child pornography, intellectual property rights, national security and privacy controls.
The purpose of this 63 page discussion paper is to examine “both sides of the net neutrality debate within the context of Trinidad and Tobago and proposes guiding principles and recommendations for net neutrality. The paper considers to what extent net neutrality regulation is desirable in an era of growing OTT applications and services, and proposes policy positions to this effect.”
Furthermore, the objectives of this paper are to: i. explore the nature of OTT services as they relate to voice, media and messaging. ii. present the key principles underlying both sides of the net neutrality debate. iii. examine the policy issues relating to net neutrality and OTT services. iv. propose guiding principles for net neutrality in Trinidad and Tobago. v. make recommendations for the regulation of net neutrality and OTTs in Trinidad and Tobago.
The objectives of this Dicussion Paper are to: 1. Introduce the concept of Android boxes, and their nature and prevalence within the Trinidad and Tobago market. 2. Assess the impact of Android boxes in Trinidad and Tobago from the service provider’s perspective. 3. Assess the impact of Android boxes in Trinidad and Tobago from the consumer’s perspective. 4. Present other countries’ approaches to the issue, especially with respect to its legality. 5. Identify the legislative remit of the Authority in addressing any issues related to Android boxes. 6. Present possible solutions and recommendations that may be undertaken by the Authority.