Shine doesn’t think net neutrality laws pose much of a roadblock. “This is particularly true for a third-party service – that is, offered by Shine, rather than by the carrier,” said Carthy.
Net neutrality and US regulatory pushback “has been focused on blocking providers, not blocking particular pieces of content,” said Gary Kibel, a partner at Davis & Gilbert who works on advertising and privacy law.
By handing the reins to a third-party vendor, telcos gain some distance from the regulatory concerns of a carrier stepping between a media supplier and the end user.
Denis O’Brien, the Irish billionaire who owns Digicel through a media holding company, has publicly clashed with Google and said in a written statement that the telco brought on Shine because “companies like Google, Yahoo and Facebook talk a great game and take a lot of credit when it comes to pushing the idea of broadband for all, but they put no money in. Instead they unashamedly trade off the efforts and investments of network operators like Digicel to make money for themselves.”
Adblock Plus and most browser/app ad blockers may have frosty relationships with publishers and ad tech stakeholders, but they don’t share Shine’s philosophical opposition or wade into the macroeconomic positioning of telco giants.
For instance, Hutchison CK, the Hong Kong media holding company which owns Three, also was an early investor in Shine.
It’s still an uphill battle for the telcos, though. Only a month ago EU regulators rejected CK Hutchison’s $12 billion takeover of the UK mobile network O2.
But in terms of Wednesday’s test of the EU’s network-level ad-blocking stance, Carthy said, “Regulators are well aware of it and have not issued any sort of restricting comment or act.”