[Gigaom] Europe’s net neutrality law gets breathing space as industry committee delays vote

Posted on

The European Union’s new package of telecoms laws, which includes the bloc’s first explicit net neutrality legislation, has hit a snag: a crucial vote in the European Parliament’s industry committee was supposed to take place on Monday, but was delayed, ostensibly due to a technicality over translations.

That’s the official, reasonably plausible explanation for the two-week delay, in any case. As it happens, the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) committee is heavily divided on the net neutrality issue, specifically over whether internet service providers should be able to degrade types of traffic to the detriment of consumers who expect the full, as-neutral-as-possible internet. […]

ITRE is a different story. Digital rights campaigners such as La Quadrature du Net have argued that proposals made by ITRE chair Pilar Del Castillo Vera and others in the committee would allow telcos to offer services in which some kinds of traffic are degraded or blocked.

They also highlight various potential loopholes and oppose measures that would allow ISPs to offer “specialized services” optimized for a specific kind of content – think IPTV, for example – without a ban on those specialized services being functionally identical to normal internet provision. […]

With the net neutrality battle having been lost for now in the United States, what happens in Europe will have a decisive effect on the future of the internet, most probably everywhere. An extra two weeks for digital rights campaigners to harangue their local MEPs can’t be a bad thing.

Europe’s net neutrality law gets breathing space as industry committee delays vote