By Heini Järvinen

This morning, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy of the European Parliament (ITRE) formally accepted the text of the informal trialogue negotiations on the “Telecommunications Single Market” Regulation, which covers net neutrality and roaming.

The text represents a significant improvement on the incoherent, contradictory and destructive approach promoted by the EU Council and European Commission. However, the provisional agreement still needs further crucial improvements, as key parts of the text, such as on ‘traffic management” and “specialised services” are extremely unclear.

The biggest problem of the current text is that “price discrimination” – where Internet users pay for a certain volume of download capacity, but get unlimited access to some websites but not all the internet, resulting in unequal rights to send and receive information – is not explicitly addressed. Furthermore, the right of individual Member States to ban such abuses of net neutrality is not definitively protected.

“The European institutions should not leave it to national telecoms regulators and courts to make the law. While we welcome the Parliament’s final efforts, the Parliament should use its second reading to resolve outstanding issues to ensure clear net neutrality protections,”

said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights.

The European Parliament adopted a clear first reading text on net neutrality, with effective definitions of “net neutrality” and “specialised services”. Following negotiations with the EU Council, we are left with a text that is sometimes potentially workable, sometimes unclear and sometimes contradictory. If this text is adopted, we face at least a year of uncertainty as we wait for regulators and courts to decide what the text might mean.

Please find the analysis of the text here:
https://edri.org/files/NN_analysis_20150715.pdf

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