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EU Commissioner's reasonable take on net neutrality

While I am always skeptical about the EU's regulatory approach, it is encouraging that the EU Commissioner is discussing a reasonable approach to net neutrality that:

  • competition and transparency should be the guiding principles;
  • network management and traffic prioritization are/can be necessary and important; and
  • The EU already has the tools in place to deal with anti-competitive bahavior.

Per a post by of EU Commissioner Viviane Reding:

  • "...So today we need to see how we effectively can construct a truly European approach to net neutrality. Competition and transparency must be our guiding principles. Based on an open digital economy and on interoperable networks, we should focus as first priority on innovation, consumer choice, and growth.
  • Some proponents of Net Neutrality would like to see equal treatment for everyone cast in the Stone Tables of the Telecoms Reform. But we must recognise that openness for innovation sometimes cannot exclude legitimate network management practices. For instance, traffic prioritisation can sometimes be an important driver of value and growth for operators. The Commission's vision of an open and competitive digital market does allow for traffic prioritisation, especially for providing more innovative services or managing networks effectively. We have to allow network providers to experiment with different consumer offerings. In the end, it will be up to the consumers to decide to change to a provider that offers them what they would like.
  • Of course, abusive or anti-competitive behaviour limiting consumer choice is a serious risk: through prioritisation of traffic, in some situations, the quality of service of all operators could degrade to unacceptably low levels. We – the Commission and the National Regulatory Authorities – shall not accept this.
    • Today, the Telecoms EU rules already provide us with helpful tools to deal with uncompetitive situations, should these occur."