[ComputerWorldUK] Net Neutrality under Threat in Europe - Unnecessarily

As long-suffering readers of this column will know, I've been following for a while the winding road leading to the European Commission's proposals regarding net neutrality in Europe. Along the way, there have been many twists and turns, with hints of first one direction, then another. But today, the Commission has finally released its plans - not just for this area, but for the whole telecoms market in Europe [...]

The tragedy is that this danger is entirely avoidable. If ISPs were allowed to offer quality of service guarantees for additional payment, just as they can offer faster services, or greater monthly bandwidth, but not tied to any one service, then end-users could use this connection for both established players and newcomers alike, enjoying a superior technical experience for both. They could then decide which service to adopt based on the performance or the merits of the rival offerings, comparing like for like, rather than being pushed in the direction of established companies able to afford deals with ISPs to provide superior connections compared to those available to startups.

The European Commission's stated aim with the new telecoms regulation is "to build a connected, competitive continent", but the lack of meaningful protection for true net neutrality will actually reduce business opportunities by placing barriers in the way of new entrants. The good news is that the European Parliament now has its say on the matter, so there's a chance to add precisely the safeguards we need to protect net neutrality fully, and with it innovation and competitiveness.