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#NetNeutrality: EU rules out blocking online content, application and services




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A multimedia internet server computer doing multimedia processing sharing and calculating actvity

A multimedia internet server computer doing multimedia processing, sharing and calculating activity

The Devil is in the details they say, and this was part of the reaction the Commission received when Digital Economy and Society Commissioner Gunter Oettinger proposed the Telecom Single Market Regulation back in 2013. For the very first time, the principle of net neutrality as enshrined in EU law sets out the detail on ruling out blocking or throttling or discrimination of online content, applications and services. 

In a blog, Oettinger reassures us that those who advocated for more detail will receive it. BEREC (the European Regulators for Electronic Communications), the EU body regrouping all 28 national telecom regulators, has issued its guidelines. These guidelines will serve as a reference for every national regulator having to decide whether a company or a public service provider violates the net neutrality rules and whether to start proceedings against them.

In doing so, the guidelines will ensure a consistent application of the open internet rules across the EU.  Because we want a single rule book for a single digital market. The guidelines send a strong signal to the market about BEREC's capacity to support and contribute to a consistent implementation of the Telecom Single Market Regulation which will also provide greater legal certainty.  They also send a clear signal to citizens that they will continue to benefit from an open Internet. And that the Internet will remain a digital engine of innovation.

Oettinger is happy to see that the BEREC guidelines meet their objective and congratulates BEREC for the great job they have done. Oettinger said: "The guidelines operationalise Telecom Single Market Regulation. No more - but also no less than that. Along with the Telecom Single Market Regulation, the guidelines set the right framework under which any market operator can provide high-quality, competitive and innovative content and services. These include some future advanced applications e.g. connected cars, 5G applications, or the Internet of Things services, some of which can be provided via an internet access service, or as specialised services in order to ensure a specific level of quality. This enables innovation, either over the open Internet or in the form of specialized services.

"I am aware that it has not been easy to agree on everything, and all parties involved have had to make some compromises. Bearing in mind the sometimes passionate debate on net neutrality, I welcome the explanatory document that BEREC has provided along with the Guidelines and thank BEREC for all the work done in such a short timeframe.

"Let us be clear: ensuring an open Internet is a fundamental principle to promote and protect the Internet that we want. It is a means to achieve the right environment for the digital society and economy to flourish and to foster freedom of expression. Today, we made a further step in the right direction.This creates transparency on the related discussion and the different points of view."

BEREC Guidelines


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