Brussels, BE – Earlier today, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communication (BEREC), released its draft guidelines for the implementation of the Telecoms Single Market Regulation, or TSM. This EU Net Neutrality law was adopted last October but BEREC has been tasked with clarifying some of the text for its implementation and ensuring that no loopholes could be exploited that would harm internet users.
The publication of the draft guidelines marks the opening of a six-week public consultation in which the public can contribute, critique, and conclusively address the final issues in the text. BEREC must publish the final TSM guidelines in August 2016.
“The draft guidelines are a testament to BEREC’s hard work,” said Estelle Massé, EU policy analyst at Access Now. “We commend BEREC for involving all stakeholders in every step of this process. The consultation period is a unique opportunity for everyone to provide input and to address remaining ambiguities to ensure this text adequately protects the online freedoms we currently enjoy.”
The draft guidelines address several of our concerns and bring the EU one step closer to comprehensive Net Neutrality rules. However, we recommend BEREC take further steps, including:
- Carefully consider the implementation of so-called specialised services. Guidelines must reaffirm Net Neutrality protections and avoid establishing fast lanes.
- Clarify rules on zero rating, particularly the relationship between those services and user’s freedom to receive and impart information protected under the regulation. Zero rating is a harmful practice that restricts consumer choice, distorts competition, undermines the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information, and restricts the freedom to conduct business, which are protected under the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.
- Further specify the implementation of traffic management measures. Discriminatory traffic-management practices risk harming user choice and would contradict requirements established under the TSM Regulation.
The SavetheInternet.eu coalition will be providing resources to empower people from around the world to express their views to the regulators. These resources will also be accessible via Access Now to support broad engagement from the global community on Net Neutrality in Europe.
For more information on BEREC and Net Neutrality in the EU see:
- Access Now submission to BEREC Consultation, December 2016
- Yes, there’s still a chance for Net Neutrality in Europe
- The EU Parliament adopts ambiguous Net Neutrality legislation
Estelle Massé, EU Policy Analyst, Access Now