Discussion Papers

No. 415: Approaches to measure performance in the Best Effort Internet

(Full version only available in German) 

Authors: J. Scott Marcus, Christian Wernick 


BEREC’s Guidelines published in August 2016 provide greater clarity on the conditions under which suppliers may deviate from the principle of net neutrality. This is relevant against the backdrop of concerns that network operators may use Internet traffic management and prioritization to downgrade non-prioritized data traffic, transforming the best effort Internet into a "dirt road" of low capacity and quality. In the course of BEREC’s Guidelines, national regulators (NRAs) are designated to increase their efforts in monitoring the performance of the best effort Internet.  

Our discussion paper focusses on approaches suitable for measuring the performance of the best effort Internet. We study the likelihood of "dirt road effects" in practice from an economic point of view. Our paper scrutinizes quality parameters and measurement methods already in place. Finally, we also address fundamental aspects that need to be taken into account when designing an integrative and holistic approach to performance measurement in the best effort Internet.  

Our analysis shows that "dirt-road" effects are unlikely in a competitive environment. Instruments that are designated to measure the quality of provision are widespread and contribute to an objectification of the debate. Nevertheless, times series analysis of changes to the quality provision in the best effort Internet are still challenging. Decision support systems (DSS), however, seem appropriate to contribute to solve existing problems. 

Discussion Paper is available for download.

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