The Industry Committee of the EU Parliament have unanimously adopted a resolution on net neutrality asking the European Commission to swiftly assess the need for legislative action on the subject. This is a strong stance in favour of net neutrality and a step away from the current “wait and see” approach adopted by EU Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
The resolution has seen fierce negotiation, but has produced a useful definition of net neutrality and exposes how the network management policies which some ISPs have lobbied for would be detrimental to competition and user freedoms and how any traffic shaping should be transparent. It also explicitly asks the EU Commission to take a stance on the subject within 6 months of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), the EU telecoms regulator, releasing their study on the discriminatory practices of ISPs.
This is resolution does not propose sanctions against ISPs that do make use of traffic management policies, and does leave a loophole around the issue of traffic management policies – such as reducing BitTorrent speeds during peak hours – but it is a move in the right direction. Moreover, if only used in the spirit of the freedoms of the internet – traffic shaping is a useful tool for ISPs to make sure all their customers receive a decent service. The loophole will need to be restricted to make sure this is the only reason for traffic shaping, but it is not necessarily bad on the face of it.
[via La Quadratore du Net]