EU telecom regulators adopt strict position on net neutrality rules

31 Aug 2016

In a ruling announced yesterday (30 August), EU regulators have seemingly adopted a firm position on how they intend to interpret rules limiting the ways telecom service providers prioritise certain types of internet traffic, in a move they hope will enshrine the principle that all web traffic be considered equal. Reuters notes that the EU’s new guidelines have been broadly welcomed by lobbyists keen to ensure that the internet remains a fair and level playing field and that market heavyweights are prevented from creating a two-tier system in which big companies with deep pockets can pay for the fastest speeds, leaving everyone else on a slower service.

Commenting on the ruling, Luca Nicotra, a senior campaigner for citizens’ group Avaaz, said: ‘Because of this law, telecom companies won’t be able to sell a first-class internet to the mega-rich while the rest of us travel coach.’

A new law on net neutrality was formally adopted in June 2015 when the European Commission (EC) announced it had passed a law to ‘enshrine the principle of net neutrality into EU law,’ with ‘no blocking or throttling of online content, applications and services’. The EC claims that the common EU-wide internet rules will ‘contribute to a single market and reverse current fragmentation’, while declaring that every European must be able to have access to the open internet and all content and service providers must be able to provide their services via a high-quality open internet, while all traffic will be treated equally. This week’s announcement is designed to help local regulators enforce those rules.