European Parliament adopts Resolution on Net Neutrality

November 18, 2011

A week after the U.S. Congress considered repealing its open Internet rules, the European Parliament stressed the importance of a neutral and open Internet at its November plenary session. To this end, it adopted a non-legislative Resolution “on the open internet and net neutrality in Europe” which calls on the Commission to ensure a uniform enforcement of the existing regulatory framework for communications and to enhance transparency in current traffic management practices.

The Resolution recognizes that certain traffic management practices are required, i.e. such that ensure end users’ connectivity, but these interventions must not involve anti-competitive or harmful discrimination. In this regard, the EP asks for the provision of more information on traffic management practices of European broadband providers.

It is worthwhile to highlight that at this point in time, the EP essentially agrees with the Commission’s current wait-and-see-approach. The Commission stated that it does not see the need in Europe to enact specific legislation on net neutrality. Enforcing existing telecom rules paired with a rigid application of the competition provisions is considered to be sufficient at this stage.

However, the EP made clear that it expects the Commission to reassess the situation after the publication of BEREC’s investigation into traffic management practices. BEREC is the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications entrusted with the task of improving the consistent implementation of EU regulations. Furthermore, Member States are also expected to adopt conclusions on the open Internet and net neutrality at the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council in December.

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