Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Net Neutrality Wins In Europe!

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)—which consists of EU national regulators - has published guidelines to ensure the regulators apply the rules consistently across the bloc on August 30, 2016.

Telecom operators in the European Union will have to treat almost all web traffic equally under net neutrality rules that took effect in April, according to the new guidelines.

The move dealt a blow to telecoms...

"This summer, hundreds of thousands of Internet users banded together to keep the Internet open and free. Together, we sent a loud, clear message to BEREC, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications: protect net neutrality.
And it worked! BEREC’s final guidelines, which were published on 30 August 2016, offer some of the strongest net neutrality protections we could wish for. So long as these new rules are properly enforced by national telecom regulators, they represent a resounding victory for net neutrality. 
The public has made clear that will not leave the future of its digital public space to big telecom lobbyists, but wants to decide for itself. To that end, civil society has to stay watchful and observe that telecom operators don’t violate the new principles. 
The consultation came as the final step of a legislative process that was launched in September 2013. During the ensuing three years, the SaveTheInternet.eu coalition campaigned successfully for the Regulation on which the consultation is based."
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EurActiv.com shares this analysis of the new regulation.
"Large telecoms companies signalled their disappointment over the regulators’ move to rule out many so-called zero rating services that are offered for free with data packages, such as unlimited access to Facebook.
National regulators will approve those services on a case-by-case basis. Under the new guidelines, the watchdogs said they will block zero rating if it interferes with freedom of expression or internet user rights. 
Telecoms operators won’t be allowed to offer zero rated services for free if a customer has already used up their data allowance.
The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO), which represents major firms including Deutsche Telekom and Orange, said in a statement that “most of the concerns outlined and described by industry experts have not been taken into account”.
Under the rules, telecoms firms will only be allowed to slow down internet traffic to fix bad quality, not to tamper with speed for commercial gain. 
The watchdogs can force companies to stop if they’re found violating the rules, or can issue fines."

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