Major uncertainties remain as EU takes timid steps towards Net Neutrality

Brussels, Belgium – Today the Industry Committee of the European Parliament formally endorsed the version of the Telecoms Single Market (TSM) Regulation that was agreed to on July 3rd. Concluded after more than ten hours of discussion, the text agreed upon by the three major EU government institutions — the Commission, Parliament, and the Council — contains improvements in the provisions on network discrimination, but uncertainty remains with regard to enforcement, traffic management and price discrimination.

“We believe that the improvements brought to the Telecoms Single Market proposal is a step in the right direction, but more clarity is needed to ensure that Net Neutrality is delivered across Europe,” said Estelle Massé, Policy Analyst at Access.

Notably absent from the TSM is an explicit ban on “zero rating” services, discriminatory services that expressly violate the tenets of Net Neutrality. As it stands, it is unclear whether countries that have passed a strict ban on zero rating services, such as the Netherlands and Slovenia, would be able to maintain those rules.

Also in question is how the network discrimination and traffic management rules will be interpreted and enforced. Without an agreed interpretation of the text which would uphold the principle of Net Neutrality and of the best effort internet, legal uncertainty and risks of abuse remain a threat.

While the Industry Committee has endorsed the text, the Parliament has yet to formally adopt the text, and it still possible to include amendments before the Parliament makes the final vote on the text in plenary session in the fall.

“To follow up on their recent efforts, we urge MEPs to ban zero rating practices and bring the needed legal certainty to the text,” added Massé. “Those changes are essential to ensure that it will not be up to courts to decide whether Net Neutrality can be delivered across the EU.”

Read full analysis of the text here.


Media Contact

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