Net Neutrality in Europe: Now or Never!
Paris, 22 October 2015 — The European Parliament will vote next Tuesday the text on Net Neutrality. Following months of trialogue negotiations, during which the Council has sought to undermine all the provisions in favour of Net neutrality, an unsatisfying compromise has been reached. The final vote on 27 October during the plenary session shall set out the rules that will be applied in France and in all other Member States. In April 2014, the European Parliament had voted a text with very strong provisions in favour of Net Neutrality. Such a vote had been possible only thanks to the important mobilisation of European citizens.
A few amendments could significantly reinforce the text and give an acceptable level of protection. The MEPs have thus a very important role: to vote in favour of citizens' rights and liberties they represent, by adopting a balanced text promoting innovation and fundamental liberties. And especially:
- A better definition of the notion of "specialised services" in order to ensure that prioritised services cannot be an opportunity for operators to create a two-speed Internet with a faster traffic for their services and applications, or their partners', and a slower one for the others who cannot afford it.
- A strict supervision of the possibilities of traffic management by operators, in order to avoid differing interpretations and insecurity by the time a decision of regulatory authorities is made. A decision that could be at the cost of SMEs and individuals.
- The possibility for Member States to forbid price discrimination and especially zero rating practices. These kinds of practices, giving free access to a website or an application and charging for the others, deeply impede Net Neutrality. Those practices distort competition and jeopardise SMEs' innovation. Plus, they hinder user's free choice and their freedom of speech.
"We are not far from an agreement that, even if not perfect, will set a strong signal in favour of the preservation of the Internet as we know it, respectful of our rights and fostering innovation by SMEs. We must show MEPs that we can trust them to defend our liberties only if they adopt the amendments that are key to an effective Net neutrality!" says Agnès de Cornulier, Legal and Policy Analysis Coordinator at La Quadrature Du Net.