Trade agreements today are the main source of rule-making at the global level, encompassing an expansive list of issues. These agreements cover a wide array of subjects that extend far beyond traditional trade matters. In the past, they have been effective tools for dominant industries to dilute or eliminate domestic policies and priorities, minimize regulatory costs, and maximize corporate interests. In most cases, trade agreements set constraints on domestic regulations, override regulatory safeguards, challenge domestic consumer protections, and weaken the leverage of local producers.
The Chilean net neutrality regulation is one of the first national legislative efforts to recognize the principle of preventing arbitrary discrimination of Internet traffic. One of the main challenges in interpreting and implementing this law within Chile has been the regular practice of zero-rating, in which certain telecommunications providers prioritize certain applications through free data. Although this practice was initially characterized as a breach of net neutrality by the regulatory body (the Subsecretariat of Telecommunications (Subtel)), zero-rating is still practiced by mobile telephone companies as part of their subscription offers. This white paper summarizes the research and findings of a larger academic project that seeks to analyze both the legal status of zero-rating in Chile and the evolution of the Subtel criteria, which has led to the proliferation of this practice in the country. To read the English version of the report, click here.