Menu
Pressure mounts in Europe for strict net neutrality

Pressure mounts in Europe for strict net neutrality

European telecommunications ministers will discuss a watered-down net neutrality proposal Thursday

Members of the European Parliament, along with civil society groups, have urged European member states to stick with strict net neutrality rules.

They did so the day before a meeting of telecommunications ministers in the EU Council, who will discuss an Italian proposal that would water down net neutrality.

Italy, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the Council, has proposed removing the very definition of net neutrality and allowing differential charging for services, according to preparatory documents for the meeting.

"The initial impressions of your proposals concern us, as they would water down precisely those strong definitions of net neutrality and specialized services that are needed in an EU Digital Single Market," a group of 131 MEPs said in a letter to the Italian presidency Wednesday.

Net neutrality should be enshrined in EU law with clear definitions and strong provisions as adopted by the European Parliament in April, they said.

The MEPs seem to have found an ally in Andrus Ansip, the new vice president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Single Market who said he is worried about the direction that the Council negotiations have taken, during a speech given to the European Parliament in Strasbourg Wednesday evening.

"The net neutrality concept has to be solid and should be clearly defined," he said, urging member states "to be ambitious and take a decisive step" toward achieving a single telecom market in Thursday's meeting.

A similar call came from 16 civil society groups that urged the Council to adopt strong net neutrality rules and reject the Italian proposal.

"Without clear rules on net neutrality, the larger access providers become gatekeepers -- with the power to allow access to their customers to those who can pay for the privilege and to exclude all others," they warned in a letter sent to the Council Wednesday.

"We need clear EU rules that outlaw any type of network discrimination such as blocking, throttling, and price discrimination," they said, adding that the Italian proposal will allow a few former monopolies to reassert their monopoly rights, restricting competition, restricting innovation and restricting freedom of communication. "Europe deserves better."

The groups also set up a campaign website to mobilize EU citizens urging them to contact their Council representatives and tell them to back strong net neutrality.

Another Italian proposal being discussed Thursday aims to delay the abolition of roaming charges in the EU. This also worries Ansip, who said a digital single market needs decent solutions on roaming and net neutrality.

That sentiment was echoed by the MEPs. "The elimination of roaming charges is already long overdue," they said, adding that pushing the date beyond Dec. 15, 2015, would allow for extra charges when people travel in the EU which will hurt and disappoint European citizens. They asked the Council to deliver net neutrality and an end to roaming by mid-December next year.

Loek is Amsterdam Correspondent and covers online privacy, intellectual property, online payment issues as well as EU technology policy and regulation for the IDG News Service. Follow him on Twitter at @loekessers or email tips and comments to loek_essers@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags regulationgovernment

Featured

Slideshows

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours

The channel came together for another round of After Hours, with a bumper crowd of distributors, vendors and partners descending on The Jefferson in Auckland. Photos by Maria Stefina.​

Kiwi channel comes together for another round of After Hours
Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland

Emerging start-up Consegna has officially launched its cloud offerings in the New Zealand market, through a kick-off event held at Seafarers Building in Auckland.​ Founded in June 2016, the Auckland-based business is backed by AWS and supported by a global team of cloud specialists, leveraging global managed services partnerships with Rackspace locally.

Consegna comes to town with AWS cloud offerings launch in Auckland
Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners

Veritas honoured its top performing partners across the channel in Australia and New Zealand, recognising innovation and excellence on both sides of the Tasman. Revealed under the Vivid lights in Sydney, Intalock claimed the coveted Partner of the Year 2017 (Pacific) award, with Data#3 acknowledged for 12 months of strong growth across the market. Meanwhile, Datacom took home the New Zealand honours, with Global Storage and Insentra winning service provider and consulting awards respectively. Dicker Data was recognised as the standout distributor of the year, while Hitachi Data Systems claimed the alliance partner award. Photos by Bob Seary.

Veritas honours top performing trans-Tasman partners
Show Comments