EU decides to both protect and undermine net neutrality

Brussels, Belgium – Last night around 3 am, the three major EU institutions — the Commission, Parliament and Council — agreed to move forward a draft text for the Telecoms Single Market Regulation, a contentious piece of EU legislation that critically impacts the internet and puts Net Neutrality at risk across Europe.

“The EU institutions have agreed on a contradictory text that does not deliver Net Neutrality,” said Estelle Massé at Access. “With rules protecting access to the internet and others handing over the future of the internet to telcos, it will be up to courts to decide whose interests prevail.”

The EU institutions have agreed on a text that authorises the establishment of slow lanes and fast lanes through exclusive and restrictive commercial deals between internet access providers and service providers. This agreement is only provisional until the Council formally adopts the text, which is expected to happen today.

Only the core text of the Regulation was agreed, leaving key elements for the interpretation of the text to be debated. Those elements are to be discussed in the next few days. After that, the text of the Telecoms Single Market regulation will not be yet final, as it must be formally approved by the EU Parliament in a plenary session in fall 2015. This still leaves two opportunities to amend the text, but today’s decision is a worrying sign of things to come.

“The text needs to be modified to be coherent and provide legal certainty,”  said Massé. “We cannot let the EU shoot itself in the foot and turn its back on 15 years of good work in the telecoms sectors.”



Media Contact

Estelle Massé
Policy Analyst, Access Now
[email protected]
0032 485 44 54 58