The Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (Ectel) has warned Digicel not to proceed with plans to introduce ad-blocking technology, which it says could “hinder the growth, usage and deployment of broadband” in the region and breach the regulator’s position on net neutrality. The warning was set out in a letter sent to Digicel’s managers in all five Eastern Caribbean member states and follows Digicel’s stated intention to deploy ad-blocking software on mobile networks in its Caribbean and Asia Pacific markets. The operator said it would introduce the software “to improve customer experience and encourage major international companies such as Google, Facebook and Yahoo to help connect 4.2 billion unconnected people.”
Ectel said it shared Digicel’s aim to improve the experience of internet customers but it strongly opposed the method proposed to achieve the objective. The regulator added that, under the principle of net neutrality, all service providers should treat internet data in the same fashion, refraining from “intercepting, interrupting, blocking, degrading, discriminating or charging differentially, by user, content, site, platform, application, type of attached equipment, mode of communication or source or destination of communication.” Interception of any communication without the consent of the receiving party amounted to a breach of the Telecommunications Act and the operator’s licence, said Ectel.