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 internetlegislationtelecommunication

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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?