Last call for responding to Commission Net Neutrality Consultation

By EDRi · October 10, 2012

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Deutsch: [EU-Konsultation zur Netzneutralität: Letzter Aufruf zur Stellungnahme |]

On 15 October 2012, the European Commission’s latest consultation on Net neutrality will officially end. Even though this is now the 6th consultation on Net Neutrality since Neelie Kroes took office as the European Commissioner for the digital agenda, and even though this is just another manifestation of the “wait and see” approach, it is still important to respond and to point out the urgency of regulatory measures. (You can find the link to the consultation and the questionnaire below.)

In a report published in May 2012, the European regulator BEREC clearly demonstrated that Net Neutrality violations are currently happening all over Europe. It found that at least 20% of mobile Internet users in Europe have some form of restriction on their ability to access Voice over IP services and that the same is true for at least 20% of fixed operators, especially regarding peer-to-peer. According to Commissioner Kroes, who initiated the investigation, this can affect up to 95% of users in a country. Moreover, the website has now collected over 175 confirmed cases of net neutrality violations from all over Europe. The results of broadband measurements from Measurement Lab have recently contributed to the visualisation of net neutrality violations worldwide in the form of an impressive map.

The European Commission’s “wait and see” approach has failed European citizens in relation to local loop unbundling, on mobile roaming and yet again on mobile data roaming. Even though these regulations have later proven to be a success, operators still insist on arguing that the market would regulate itself. Faced with the ever-growing mountain of evidence that European operators, particularly in the mobile sector, block and throttle online services, should we make the same mistake again? The European Commission is still not doing anything to provide sufficient safeguards to prevent dangerous experimentation with the nature of the Internet in Europe, undermining both fundamental rights and the economic value of the Internet. On the contrary, Commissioner Kroes has moved away from her initial commitment:

2009: Neelie Kroes commits herself to the issue of net neutrality: “We also need to ensure that the new technologies are secure, respect privacy, and that networks are reliable and resilient, open and neutral”

2010: “Any content or application that is legal and which does not cause undue congestion or otherwise harm other users or network integrity should be fully accessible. In the spirit of net neutrality all such content and applications should receive equal treatment.”

2011: “I am a firm believer in the power of competition to promote consumer interests.”

2012: “consumers also need to know if they are getting Champagne or lesser sparkling wine. (…) I do not propose to force each and every operator to provide full Internet.”

Therefore, please take a couple of minutes to respond to the questionnaire – answers to only some of the questions are absolutely valid.

Questionnaire of the consultation, for citizens (deadline 15 October 2012)

Further information on the consultation

Net neutrality map

December 2009: Answers by Neelie Kroes to the European Parliament

November 2010: Neelie Kroes speech during the European Commission and European Parliament Summit on ‘The Open Internet and Net Neutrality in Europe’

April 2011: Net Neutrality Communication

May 2012: Next steps on Net Neutrality – making sure you get champagne service if that’s what you’re paying for

(Contribution by Kirsten Fiedler – EDRi)