„Net neutrality” in the European Union


The Netherlands is the first country in the E.U. to pass a telecommunications law on the so-called „net neutrality”. It makes it illegal for Inernet Service Providers (ISPs) to filter the internet. According to this piece of legislation all telecommunications traffic must be treated equally and may not be blocked.

The customers shall be granted unfettered access to the so-called „over-the-top services” – WhatsApp, Viber, Skype. ISPs will also be prohibited from differentiating prices for using such services. ISPs are free to block certain traffic but only on the grounds of network security. On top of that the new law limits ISPs from disconnecting customers without a court order, provided the bills have been paid duly.

Vice-president of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda N.Kroes regreted this unilateral move on the globally sensitive topic. She mentioned that requiring operators to provide only “full internet” could kill innovative new offers as well as mean higher prices for those consumers with more limited internet usage needs.

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