Net Neutrality - The topic is hotly debated

At our next member event, May 13th, we welcome as a guest-speaker National Councillor Balthasar Glättli. After the spring session, he will present us his initial conclusion to his motion "net neutrality". Net neutrality refers to the equal treatment of data and services in fixed and mobile Internet in terms of speed and quality.

Beginning of March, the needs in Bern were presented in an open hearing. The participation of exponents as Balthasar Glättli, National Councillor Grüne, Carsten Schloter, CEO of Swisscom, Matthias Stürmer, managing director for the parliamentary group for digital sustainability, Simon Schlauri, a lawyer with focus on network neutrality, Brian Tramell, ETH researchers, and Peter Grütter, President of ASUT, underlines the current sensitivity of the subject.

Violations of net neutrality is already a reality

The speakers were concur that net neutrality is an essential condition for the continued success of the Internet and freedom of expression. But even now, several interventions have been identified in the network neutrality.

Quote Inside-IT:

"Simon Schlauri gave many types of injuries. Sometimes providers try to slow down big traffic polluters to relieve their networks. More often it is a matter to favor their own services or services of specialized partners. A blatant form is the blocking of individual services. A Dutch Provider locked WhatsApp for example, to maintain its SMS revenues, other mobile companies do similar with Skype. In the EU according to Simon Schlauri, in around a third of all countries more than half of all providers injure network neutrality.

Schlauri had examples from Switzerland. Swisscom counts, for example, the traffic caused by Internet-TV providers like Zattoo to the data-bills of customers - but not to their own competing offer Swisscom TV air. Cablecom brakes - at least according to the Terms and Conditions - certain services, such as P2P networks at certain times of the day. Sunrise reserves the right to block Internet phone services such as Skype in the mobile network. Balthasar Glättli also added the example of Orange Young, where the music service Spotify, which Orange has an agreement with, doesn't count to the data volumes like other music services do. "

Unity on Traffic Management

Google, YouTube, Facebook and pornography are responsible for 60% of Internet traffic. These large "polluters" can block innovative services. Each IP packet just to be treated equally, would be about an "innovation killers" to Schloter. Outstanding issues in areas such as e-health and Smart Grids must therefore be clarified with respect to net neutrality. Because in the future, much more communication take place via Internet. This kind of traffic management did nobody object of the presenters.

Conflicting opinions exist in the discussion of who and how to set up the rules for net neutrality in Switzerland: legislation or self-regulation. Schloter voted clearly for the latter form. Even Peter Grütter, ASUT president, spoke out against a too proactive legislation. And the latter are difficult to correct.


"For Balthasar Glättli net neutrality needs to be legally implemented in order to create equal conditions for businesses and consumers alike in this playing field. It should be prevented that companies use technical capabilities to their own discretion and that they develop business models that are based on discrimination. He was seconded by ETH researcher Brian Trammell, who pointed out that the Internet has grown organically and that there is a risk that the large providers oppresse the small ones.

After all, some consensus was constated by Matthias Stürmer, Leader of the Parliamentary Group Digital sustainability: Against a transparent information obligation of providers to clients none of the involved parties might say something against. "

How to proceed?

We follow the discussion on net neutrality and look forward to the presentation of the current status on 13 May. The positions of the major providers for this are mixed: while Swisscom, Sunrise and Orange are in favor of self-regulation, self-regulation makes no sense for Cablecom according Der Bund. The federal government would like to address the issue of net neutrality together with the revision of the Telecommunications Act. Whether however explicit regulations as the transparency obligation or merely implicit policies are adopted, is in the stars. 


This post refers to articles from Inside IT, Computer World and The Bund. Some passages were copied unchanged.



Der Bund auf dem Blog der parlamentarischen Gruppe "Digitale Nachhaltigkeit"

More sources:

Die Netzwoche widmete bereits im Januar 2013 ein ganzes Heft dem Thema Netzneutralität: 

Videos of the Open Hearing

Lecture Simon Schlauri


Videocast of the hearing


  • English
  • Deutsch
  • Français