Net Neutrality across Europe
The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has published its Guidelines to National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) on the implementation of the new net neutrality. From the guidelines it becomes clear that net neutrality across the whole of Europe is now in effect. In an earlier stage, The Netherlands already adopted stronger rules to ensure net neutrality.
As well as providing rights to end-users, the Regulation establishes common rules “to safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic”. These new net neutrality rules seek to ensure that the internet ecosystem can continue to flourish as an engine of innovation and freedom of expression. The guidelines clarify vaguely worded provisions that experts say could have been exploited by telecoms to favor certain internet services over others.
The net neutrality rules adopted by the European Parliament last year aimed to strengthen net neutrality by requiring internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all web traffic equally, without favoring some services over others. But the regulations contained several loopholes that raised concerns among net neutrality advocates, including a provision that would have allowed ISPs to create "fast lanes" for "specialized services," and another that would have allowed for zero-rating, under which certain services and apps would be exempt from counting against monthly data limits. A "traffic management" provision would have allowed telecoms to prioritize internet traffic from some services over others.