European net neutrality law clears committee hurdle

The proposal ends roaming charges and permits 'specialized services' by ISPs

Telecommunication operators are closer to losing lucrative roaming revenue after the European Parliament's industry committee approved a contentious package of legislation Tuesday that also establishes net neutrality.

The committee voted 30-12 with 14 abstentions to approve the Telecoms Single Market package, which includes an end to roaming charges from December 2015 and new rules for ISPs. While it explicitly bans blocking and throttling of Internet traffic, it leaves the door open for "specialized services."

The action moves the legislation along to the European Parliament, which is set to take up the measure on April 3.

"The regulation passed today will also improve coordination of the management of the radio spectrum, which will allow for innovative uses of wireless broadband, protect broadcasting and stop interference when several devices are used close together," said French member of the European Parliament Catherine Trautmann.

"However, net neutrality is a red line, not only for our group but above all for citizens who have made their views clear. We want a binding reference to the principle of net neutrality," she added in a statement.

While consumer groups welcomed the possible end to roaming charges for customers, digital rights groups worried that the proposal could establish a two-tier Internet.

"Specialized services should be limited to services provided by ISPs, such as IPTV, and should not be confused with services on the open Internet, like YouTube or Spotify," said Raegan MacDonald, European policy manager at human rights group Access. "Under the current overly broad definition, industry giants will be able to consolidate their control over the telco market while hampering competition, innovation and freedom of expression in Europe."

Some groups believe that softer rules on net neutrality are a trade-off for telecoms companies for their loss of roaming revenue.

"Today's vote is a sign of the massive lobbying influence of big telecom operators over the European legislative process. The regulation's big loopholes will have to be corrected when the European Parliament casts its final vote in a few weeks," said Miriam Artino, legal and policy analyst at La Quadrature du Net.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentinternetlegislationtelecommunication

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?