Advertisement

European Union supports equal treatment of Internet traffic

A proposal by the European Union Parliament would restrict Internet charges and codify the concept of "net neutrality."

By Ed Adamczyk

The European Union Parliament agreed Thursday to ensure all Internet traffic is treated equally, part of a planned reform of Europe’s telecommunications industry.

The set of proposals, which passed by 534-25 with 58 abstentions, outline future regulatory policy and will be negotiated by the 28 member nations. It includes a strongly-worded set of amendments advanced by Socialist, Green and Liberal Parties calling for “net neutrality” -- the model calling for equal treatment of all traffic on the internet, regardless of content or origin.

Advertisement

The package will be Europe’s first net neutrality legislation, although the Netherlands and Slovenia already have laws preserving the model.

Other provisions include an end to roaming charges, defense of consumer rights and a change in the way countries allocate spectrum to mobile phone service providers.

The debate centered on “specialized services,” in which Internet providers can charge more for services such as an upgraded television connection or a private business network. The Parliament members sought to restrict availability of these services.

“We managed to introduce a precise definition of specialized services so that they are not confused with Internet access services,” said MP Catherine Trautmann, adding a “binding reference to the principle of net neutrality” was included in the proposals.

Advertisement

The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association, a trade group for service providers, described the vote as “a step in the wrong direction.”

[Wall Street Journal]

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement