Paris, 1 April 2016 — Following the adoption, by the European Union, of an ambiguous text on Net Neutrality, the BEREC1Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications was given the task of drafting guidelines to overcome the lack of clarity in the European Regulation on Telecommunications, to facilitate the harmonized implementation in the EU member states. The lack of transparency of these negotiations inside BEREC is very worrying and does not guarantee a positive outcome or a final text respectful of Net neutrality. Several European organisations are joining forces to consult citizens and obtain their views on Net Neutrality.
The BEREC is set to complete its guidelines on August 30, 2016, hereby settling the fate of an open and competitive Internet in Europe (the “Net neutrality”). It is therefore necessary that the principles laid down in EU legislation or in the “Open Internet Order” in the United States do not stay just wishful thinking: A failure of Net Neutrality in Europe would have dramatic consequences for citizens and European companies.
The BEREC is expected to publish a first draft of its guidelines by early June 2016, opening a six-week consultation which will therefore arrive too late, after the finalization of the very opaque negotiations taking place right now. This schedule does not allow time to the telecom regulation board to analyse in depth the many responses to the consultation and to integrate them into the final version, scheduled for August 30, 2016. This formal consultation will therefore be nothing but a huge hoax, and BEREC thus shows its contempt for basic transparency rules.
To address the shortcomings of this European agency, the Save The Internet collective, including La Quadrature du Net, has launched an alternative consultation to allow everyone to express themselves on the future of Net Neutrality in Europe. This platform is complementary to the recently relaunched Respect My Net website, designed to collect evidence of technical and commercial violations of Net Neutrality in member states. The aim of these projects is to place citizens back in the technical and political debate, in which they were strongly involved during the early discussion stage of European Regulation, but were forgotten after the vote in Parliament in April 2014.
La Quadrature du Net calls on everyone to participate through the consultation platform and express their vision of what Net Neutrality should be in Europe. Since it is necessary to address the shortcomings of the Regulation and the quirky calendar of the BEREC, it is especially important that citizen mobilization is massive and restores the balance that the European institutions have not been able to achieve.
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