Net neutrality in the European Union

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The basic framework of net neutrality in the European Union (EU) is laid down by Article 3 of EU Regulation 2015/2120.[1] However, the regulation's text has been criticized as offering loopholes that can undermine the regulation's effectiveness.[2] Some EU member countries, such as Slovenia and the Netherlands, have stronger net neutrality laws.

Regulation history[edit]

The 2002 regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services in the European Union consisted of five directives, which are referred to as "the Framework Directive and the Specific Directives":[citation needed]

When the European Commission consulted on the updating of the Framework Directive and the Specific Directives in November 2007, it examined the possible need for legislation to mandate network neutrality, countering the potential damage, if any, caused by non-neutral broadband access. The European Commission stated that prioritisation "is generally considered to be beneficial for the market so long as users have choice to access the transmission capabilities and the services they want" and "consequently, the current EU rules allow operators to offer different services to different customers groups, but not allow those who are in a dominant position to discriminate in an anti-competitive manner between customers in similar circumstances".[3]

However, the European Commission highlighted that Europe's current legal framework cannot effectively prevent network operators from degrading their customers' services. Therefore, the European Commission proposed that it should be empowered to impose a minimum quality of services requirements.[4] In addition, an obligation of transparency was proposed to limit network operators' ability to set up restrictions on end-users' choice of lawful content and applications.[5]

On 19 December 2009, the so-called "Telecoms Package" came into force and EU member states were required to implement the Directive by May 2011.[6][7] According to the European Commission the new transparency requirements in the Telecoms Package would mean that "consumers will be informed—even before signing a contract—about the nature of the service to which they are subscribing, including traffic management techniques and their impact on service quality, as well as any other limitations (such as bandwidth caps or available connection speed)".[7] Regulation (EC) No 1211/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2009 established the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) and the Office[8] Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications. BEREC's main purpose is to promote cooperation between national regulatory authorities, ensuring a consistent application of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications.[9]

The European Parliament voted the EU Commission's September 2013 proposal on its first reading in April 2014 and the Council adopted a mandate to negotiate in March 2015. Following the adoption of the Digital Single Market Strategy by the Commission on 6 May, Heads of State and Government agreed on the need to strengthen the EU telecoms single market. After 18 months of negotiations, the European Parliament, Council and Commission reached two agreements on the end to roaming charges and on the first EU-wide rules on net neutrality on 30 June 2015,[10] to be completed by an overhaul of EU telecoms rules in 2016. Specifically, article 3 of EU Regulation 2015/2120[11] sets the basic framework for ensuring net neutrality across the entire European Union. However, the regulation's text has been criticized as offering loopholes that can undermine the regulation's effectiveness.[12]

National regulations[edit]

The EU has laid down a framework on net neutrality, but some of EU states have stronger laws nationally, or are discussing passing them. However Neelie Kroes, former European Commissioner for Digital Agenda, has asked "national legislators and regulators to wait for better evidence before regulating on an uncoordinated, country-by-country basis that slows down the creation of a Digital Single Market".[13]

Member State Situation Details
 Belgium Under discussion In Belgium, net neutrality was discussed in the parliament in June 2011. Three parties (CD&V, N-VA & PS) jointly proposed a text to introduce the concept of net neutrality in the telecom law.[14]
 France Under discussion In France, on 12 April 2011, the Commission for economic affairs of the French parliament approved the report of MP Laure de La Raudière (UMP). The report contains[15] 9 proposals. Propositions n°1 & 2 act on net neutrality.
 Italy Under discussion In March 2009, the following bill was put forward: Proposta di legge dei senatori Vincenzo VITA (PD) e Luigi Vimercati (PD), "Neutralità Delle Reti, Free Software E Societa' Dell'informazione".[16]

Senator Vimercati in an interview said that he wants "to do something for the network neutrality" and that he was inspired by Lawrence Lessig, Professor at the Stanford Law School. Vimercati said that the topic is very hard, but in the article 3 there is a reference to the concept of neutrality regard the contents. It is also a problem of transparency and for the mobile connections: we need the minimum bandwidth to guarantee the service. We need some principle to defend the consumers. It's important that the consumer has been informed if he could not access all the Internet.

The bill refuses all the discrimination: related by the content, the service and the device. The bill is generally about Internet ("a statute for the Internet") and treat different topics like network neutrality, free software, giving an Internet access to everyone.

 Netherlands
Law passed 2012

On June 4, 2012, the Netherlands became the first country in Europe and the second in the world, after Chile, to enact a network neutrality law.[17][18][19] The main provision of the law requires that "Providers of public electronic communication networks used to provide Internet access services as well as providers of Internet access services will not hinder or slow down services or applications on the Internet".[20]

 Slovenia Law passed 2012 At the end of 2012, Slovenia legislated a law of electronic communication implementing a strong principle of net neutrality.[21] Slovenia thus became the second country in Europe to enact a net neutrality law. The Government Agency for Communications, Networks and Services (AKOS) is enforcing the law and executes inspections. In January 2015 it found zero-rating infringements at the two largest mobile network providers, Telekom and Simobil (now A1).[22] In February it found similar infringaments also at Amis[23] (now Simobil) and Tušmobil[24] (now Telemach). In July 2016 the Administrative Court of the Republic of Slovenia annulled the decisions of AKOS.[25]

Potential violations[edit]

In 2007, Plusnet was using deep packet inspection to implement limits and differential charges for peer-to-peer, file transfer protocol, and online game traffic.[26] However, their network management philosophy was made clear for each package they sold, and was consistent between different websites.[27]

In 2017, Germany mobile device ISP's like Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone were offering services that seemed to affect net neutrality. The government agency overseeing the market (Bundesnetzagentur) stated, in general these plans are in alignment with net neutrality but forced the companies to adopt some changes. [28][29]

Criticism[edit]

European net neutrality law has been criticised for leaving too many loopholes to be exploited, as amendments to close them failed to gain enough support across the European Parliament. Some loopholes include the ability to offer priority to "specialised services", provided they still treat the "open" internet equally. Such services included remote surgery, driverless cars and anti-terrorism efforts. The law does say that these services cannot be offered if they restrict bandwidth for normal users. Another exemption is giving websites a "Zero-rating", not counting a website against a user's data limits, giving an advantage to those sites when being viewed via a metered connection.[2]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (25 November 2015). "Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 laying down measures concerning open internet access and amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services and Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union". Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  2. ^ a b Hern, Alex (27 October 2015). "EU net neutrality laws fatally undermined by loopholes, critics say". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 13 February 2016. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  3. ^ European Commission (13 November 2007). "Impact Assessment on the proposals to amend the European regulatory framework (Working Document – SEC(2007) 1472)" (PDF). p. 91. Retrieved 26 December 2008.
  4. ^ "Article 22 of the proposed Universal Service Directive" (PDF). Digital Agenda for Europe. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  5. ^ "Article 20(5) of the proposed Universal Service Directive" (PDF). Digital Agenda for Europe. Retrieved 14 September 2014.
  6. ^ "Eur-Lex.Europa.eu". Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  7. ^ a b Meyer, David (7 May 2009). "Europe Votes Sweeping Telecom Reform". Bloomberg BusinessWeek. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  8. ^ "Eur-Les.Europa.eu". Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  9. ^ "Eur-Lex.Europa.eu". Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  10. ^ http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-5275_en.htm
  11. ^ European Parliament and the Council of the European Union (25 November 2015). "Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 November 2015 laying down measures concerning open internet access and amending Directive 2002/22/EC on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services and Regulation (EU) No 531/2012 on roaming on public mobile communications networks within the Union" (HTML). Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  12. ^ Hern, Alex (27 October 2015). "EU net neutrality laws fatally undermined by loopholes, critics say". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 February 2016.
  13. ^ http://ec.europa.eu/archives/commission_2010-2014/kroes/en/blog/netneutrality.html
  14. ^ proposition 53 1467/002 dekamer.be, 27 August 2011
  15. ^ rapport de La Raudière asseblee-nationale.fr, 27 August 2011
  16. ^ "PI: Ci vuole una legge per la Rete". Punto-informatico.it. 7 February 1996. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  17. ^ "Wet van 10 mei 2012 tot wijziging van de Telecommunicatiewet ter implementatie van de herziene telecommunicatierichtlijnen" [Act of 10 May 2012 for the amendment of the Telecomminications Act for the implementation of the revised telecommunications directives]. Staatsblad van het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (in Dutch). 2012 (235). 4 June 2012. Archived from the original on 13 April 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  18. ^ "Net neutrality enshrined in Dutch law" Archived 30 September 2013 at the Wayback Machine.. The Guardian (London). Associated Press. 23 June 2011. Retrieved 3 April 2014.
  19. ^ "The Netherlands Passes Net Neutrality Legislation". Electronic Frontier Foundation. 21 May 2012. Archived from the original on 14 October 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  20. ^ "wetten.nl - Wet- en regelgeving - Telecommunicatiewet - BWBR0009950" [wetten.nl - Laws and policies - Telecommunications Act - BWBR0009950] (in Dutch). Article 7.4a. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
  21. ^ "Uradni list Republike Slovenije". www.uradni-list.si. Archived from the original on 6 October 2015. Retrieved 10 October 2015.
  22. ^ "AKOS: Telekom Slovenije in Simobil kršila nevtralnost interneta @ Slo-Tech". slo-tech.com. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2016.
  23. ^ "AKOS's decision no. 06101-1412/2014/4 of 20 February 2014". akos-rs.si. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  24. ^ "AKOS's decision no. 06101-1413/2014/4 of 20 February 2014". akos-rs.si. Archived from the original on 18 September 2016. Retrieved 19 July 2016.
  25. ^ "Slovenia strikes down ban on zero rating, upholds rule of law". techpolicydaily.com. American Enterprise Institute. Archived from the original on 2016-10-28. Retrieved 2016-07-20.
  26. ^ Anderson, Nate (25 July 2007). "Deep packet inspection meets 'Net neutrality, CALEA". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 19 April 2011. Retrieved 23 June 2011.
  27. ^ "Broadband All about traffic management". PlusNet. Archived from the original on 29 November 2014.
  28. ^ "Behörde verlangt: Telekom muss „Stream On"-Tarif verändern". 15 December 2017 – via www.faz.net.
  29. ^ Hauck, Mirjam; Martin-Jung, Helmut (17 December 2017). "Auch in Deutschland ist die Netzneutralität durchlöchert" – via Sueddeutsche.de.

External links[edit]