Final consultation to save the open Internet in Europe

By EDRi · April 6, 2016

The future of the open and competitive Internet in Europe (so-called “net neutrality”) will be decided in Europe in the coming months. After regulators in India and the United States ruled that Internet companies are not permitted to undermine innovation, competition and free speech, now it is Europe’s turn. Failure in the EU will have dramatic consequences for European businesses and citizens alike.

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Ahead of a flawed official consultation planned by the European regulators committee (BEREC – the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications) in June 2016, the European Save the Internet campaign has launched an alternative net neutrality consultation. The alternative consultation is necessary to help fix some of the fundamental flaws in BEREC’s planned consultation.

It is absolutely crucial that BEREC makes the right decisions. It is essential for everybody who supports freedom of communication, privacy and innovation to support the Save the Internet campaign. We need to make this consultation as decisive as the ones in India and the US.

Why is there a consultation after the legislative process ended?

The EU’s new rules on net neutrality, adopted at the end of 2015, aim to protect the open, competitive Internet in Europe. However, the legislation is somewhat unclear and could still allow restrictive, discriminatory behaviour by Internet providers if not clarified properly by BEREC. As a first step, BEREC is preparing guidelines to interpret the ambiguities of the law through a set of guidelines, which it will finish by the end of August 2016, the deadline established under the EU Regulation on net neutrality and roaming. However, it is impossible to carry out a meaningful consultation that respects the time limits that BEREC has foreseen.

After BEREC publishes the first draft guidelines at the beginning of June 2016, there will be six weeks to respond. Then, regardless of how many tens of thousands of responses it receives, BEREC will publish the final version of its guidelines by 30 August 2016. Bearing in mind the complexity of the issues and the likely number of responses, this is simply not feasible, unless any changes proposed as a result of the consultation are minimal and guaranteed not to be opposed during BEREC’s final approval procedure.

Save the Internet is convinced that pushing for real net neutrality right to the end of this process is essential for the EU to recreate the success of India and the USA.

Background Information:

Save The Internet

EDRi’s written response to BEREC stakeholder dialogue with representatives of end-users/consumers and civil society (15.12.2015)

EDRi’s first input to EU regulators on net neutrality guidelines (13.01.2016)

Net neutrality: document pool II