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News Alert

Chile becomes the first country to integrate net neutrality principles into its legislation

Chilean Congress Approves Bill on Net Neutrality:

Chile becomes the first country to integrate net neutrality principles into its legislation

After a three year long discussion on the Congress, last August 26th 2010 a law on net neutrality was published on Chile’s Official Gazette, amending the Telecommunications Act and making Chile the first country to integrate this principle in their legislation.

I. The Legislative Process 

The project was filed for discussion before the House of Representatives on March 2007, and consisted of a few articles which were originally intended to be inserted in and to modify the Consumer Protection Act, conside­ring the effectiveness and flexibility of the con­sumers’ actions from that law. Later on, the Commission of Science and Technology of the House of Representatives modified the project to include it on the Telecommunication Act, considering the characteristics of the Internet as a support for a variety of distance communications, as well as of other services or applications. In addition to that, it was argued that the regulatory authority vested on the Under Secretariat of Telecommunications would be an adequate venue to interpret the regulation of the users’ rights, providing the flexibility that is necessary for a subject matter like the Internet and its changing uses and applications.

The bill was finally approved by the House of Representatives on July 13th, 2010; and published on the Official Gazette on August 26th 2010, following its enactment on August 18th.

II. The Bill on Net Neutrality: Main Obliga­tions and Prohibitions 

The law project inserts three new articles on the Telecommunications Act.

Internet access providers (“IAP”) are defined as those who provide commercial services of connectivity between users or their networks and the Internet. The Bill sets forth obligations and prohibitions for both IAPs and the con­cessionaires of public services of telecommu­nications who provide services to an IAP (hereinafter collectively referred to as “ISP”).

The main legal obligations and prohibitions for ISPs are:

-Net neutrality. ISPs cannot arbitrarily block, interfere, discriminate, hinder nor res­trict the right of any internet user to use, send, receive or offer any legal content, application or service through the internet, as well as any activity or legitimate use conducted through the Internet. The service cannot arbitrarily distinguish contents, applications or services based on the source or property of said con­tents. ISPs are allowed, however, to take measures and actions that are necessary for the management of traffic and networks, as long as they are not intended to or may affect free competition.

-Block of access upon user’s request.

ISPs are authorized to block access to certain contents, applications or services only upon the users’ request, and at the user’s cost. Under no circumstances such block will arbi­trarily affect the online service and application providers.

-Free use of peripherals. ISPs cannot limit the right of a user to incorporate or use any kind of instruments, devices or appliance on the net; as long as these devices are legal and don’t damage the net or the quality of the service.

If you have any questions regarding the matters discussed in this memorandum, please contact the following attorney or call your regular Carey contact.

This memorandum is provided by Carey y Cía. Ltda. for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be construed as legal advice.

Carey y Cía. Ltda.
Isidora Goyenechea 2800, Piso 43
Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.