Mexico: IFT issues guidelines on net neutrality

Fibre

Telecommunications Alert

Data Protection, Privacy and Security Alert

Latin America Alert

By:

On June 28, the Mexican Institute of Telecommunications (Instituto Federal de Telecomunicaciones) (IFT) approved the guidelines applicable to concessionaires and authorized parties for data traffic management and network administration to provide Internet access services[1] (Guidelines). Essentially, these Guidelines implement the “Net Neutrality” chapter included in the Federal Law of Telecommunications and Broadcasting (Ley Federal de Telecomunicaciones y Radiodifusión), which is based on the principles of unrestricted choice, non-discrimination, privacy, transparency and information, traffic management, quality and infrastructure’s sustainable development.

The Guidelines provide the following:

  1. Obligated parties. The Guidelines are addressed to concessionaires and authorized parties that supply internet services with commercial purposes (ISP). Therefore, providers of apps, content and other services on the Internet (PACS) are not obligated parties.

  2. Traffic management and network administration. ISP may implement policies for traffic management and network administration aimed at preserving the integrity and safety of the network and to guarantee the quality, capacity and effectiveness of the services purchased by end users. They shall however ensure that:

    1. Users are free to choose the apps, contents and services (ACS) they wish to access. The ISP shall not limit, degrade or restrict this right in any manner whatsoever
    2. Non-discriminatory treatment to final users, PACS, and similar data flow, as well as third parties’ data traffic (which leads to the “fast lanes” prohibition)
    3. User privacy and
    4. Private communication’s immunity.
    It is only possible to limit, degrade or restrict the flow of data in a temporary manner and in exceptional events, ie, a verifiable risk to the integrity of the network and communications, extraordinary network congestion, or emergency situations and disasters representing a potential risk to the network’s operation. The ISP will not be entitled to inspect, monitor nor alter the content running through its network.

  3. Sponsored data (zero rating). In the offering of Internet access services, the ISP may:

    1. Offer free access to ACS (known as zero rating), sponsored by the ISP or third parties. In the later, sponsoring offers shall be registered before IFT and will apply to any interested party under non-discriminatory terms
    2. Offer data packages for accessing specific ACS, subject to the term of the internet access plan or package and
    3. Modify the speed of data transmission once the maximum is met, provided that it is equally applicable to all ACS.
    The offers referred herein shall not exceed the validity of the internet access plan or package purchased. In other words, the zero rating is only possible in case that it coexists with the internet access plan or package, unless it concerns ACS from: i) authorities or public entities contributing to the shortening of the digital gap (ie, academic contents); ii) financial institutions aiming at promoting digital inclusion, and iii) ISP for the consulting, payment and purchasing of telecommunications services.

  4. Specialized services. ISP may supply services through their network by assigning specific network features and resources, only if that does not affect the quality of Internet access services provided and:

    1. Provide ACS that require technical parameters that cannot be replicated in optimal conditions through the supply of Internet access service
    2. Provide additional functions that cannot be replicated through the supply of Internet access service or
    3. Consist in a service that does not require Internet connection.
  5. Transparency and information. ISP running sponsored data offers or supplying specialized services shall periodically provide to IFT reports including information on their sponsors as well as services supplied.

    ISP shall publish and constantly update the policies for data flow management and network administration in their websites, in such a manner that users may easily understand them.

  6. IFT’s faculties. At any given time, IFT may suspend specific policies for data management and network administration, as well as the services offered to final users or PACS, in case of infringement of the Guidelines or in the event of harm to free competition. In addition, IFT may order amendments to the policies for data traffic management and network administration in case such codes are not aligned to the terms provided in the Guidelines. 

    IFT will be entitled to request information from ISP regarding the implementation and results of the Guidelines and will publish a report thereon on an annual basis.

The Guidelines herein summarized were published in the Mexican Official Gazette (Diario Oficial de la Federación) on July 5 and will enter into force 60 calendar days following the publication.

Leer este artículo en español.



[1] (Lineamientos para la gestión de tráfico y administración de red a que deberán sujetarse los concesionarios y autorizados que presten el servicio de acceso a internet).