Brussels – The European Commission has decided against
legislation to mandate the principles of "’Net Neutrality," opting
instead to rely on existing law, media coverage and consumers to bring potential abuses to
light. "I am determined to ensure that citizens and businesses in the EU
can enjoy the benefits of an open and neutral internet, without hidden
restrictions and at the speeds promised by their service providers," said
Neelie Kroes, vice president of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda.
"I am a firm believer in the principles of competition, which are at the
core of the new enhanced telecom rules on transparency, quality of service and
the ability to easily switch operators."
The report notes a "general
consensus that traffic management is necessary to ensure the smooth flow of
Internet traffic, particularly at times when networks become congested, and so
guarantee a consistent good quality of service. There is broad agreement that
operators should be allowed to determine their own business models and
However, the Commission said itself and the Body
of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) will monitor the
space and publish a year-end report.
"[If the report’s] findings and other
feedback indicate outstanding problems, the Commission will assess the need for
more stringent measures."
Consumer advocates derided the decision.
"Ms. Kroes is hiding behind false free-market arguments to do nothing at
all," said Jeremie Zimmerman, a spokesman for French digital civil
liberties group La Quadrature du Net.