Brussels – On 3rd April, the European Parliament will vote in Plenary on the ‘Telecoms Single Market Regulation’. We commend the work of the Parliamentary Committees that have issued opinions on the dossier. The Parliament has dealt with this wide-ranging and complex proposal effectively and efficiently.
For tomorrow’s vote, a number of political groups have proposed amendments to the text adopted by the lead ITRE Committee. On the whole, these amendments would improve the ITRE text, and we, along with other civil society groups and trade associations encourage the full Parliament to support the amendments proposed by the S&D, Green, ALDE and GUE groups.
CDT and the CCIA have been engaged in the net neutrality debate in the EU for some time. We strongly support enshrining net neutrality principles in European law, and we welcomed the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation when it was published in September 2013 – but we also pointed to important loopholes in the text. We support the thrust of the Commission’s proposal and the ITRE text: establishing the primacy of the open, ‘best efforts’ Internet, while enabling ISPs to deploy specialized services under certain conditions.
The debate leading up to this vote has been controversial and emotional. It has been cast as a decision for or against the ‘open Internet’. The reality is more complex. After tomorrow’s vote, EU-wide net neutrality legislation that bans practices such as throttling and blocking will be one step closer. This is progress, but the legislation in its current form will not solve all the complex issues involved. More work will be required, as Member States debate the proposal over the coming months. And, no matter how the final wording of definitions, obligations, and permissions looks, European regulators will need to monitor the evolution of the market carefully and enforce the rules so that consumers can choose which services they want and innovators of all types can flourish.