EU policy/Monitor/NN

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Free Knowledge Advocacy Group EU

Network Neutrality


Network Neutrality has been a long debated topic on the EU level. The idea behind this concept is to legally guarantee equal access to all online services from any internet connection. Although the European Parliament has twice urged the European Commission to propose such legislation, the latter has so far been more in favour of recommendations and makret-transparency measures, rather than actual rules. Finally, in July 2013, the Commissioner reponsible for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes held a speech in which she took a firmer stance on safeguarding an open internet.

Interesting consequences include how such legislation might cascade into the terriotrial licencsing issue surrounding the debates of the European Digital Single Market debate. Also unclear is whether any commercial or non-commercial exceptions will be made. Could projects like Wikipedia Zero be outlawed? The devil will be in the details.

As far as civil society organisations are concerned, the common position can be summarised as:
The idea that everything is accessible everywhere is a founding principle and most defining trait of the internet.

Release Cycle[edit]

The European Commission hasn't released an official statement with proposals, yet. We're expected to see a first timeline and ideas before the summer break August 2013.


4 June 2013 - Neelie Kroes announces future proposals on net neutarlity[edit]

European Commissioner repsonsible for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kores stated in a speech, that "If we don't address net neutrality, wider problems will arise and tomorrow's innovative services might have to stop at the border." In the same discourse she expained, that she is soon planning to table proposals for legislative measures addressing these issues.

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23 January 2013 - Commission's High Level Group calls for legislation[edit]

The High Level Group on Media Freedom and Pluralism of the European Commission has published a report titled A free and pluralistic media to sustain European democracy, which recommends that channels delivering media should be entirely neutral regarding the handling of content.

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20 December 2012 - Slovenia becomes second EU with net neutarlity law[edit]

Slovenia is the second EU Member State to pass network neutarlity legislation. See also English translation of relevant sections.

15 November 2012 - EP calls for network neutarlity protection, yet again[edit]

The European Parliament Report on a Ditigal Freedom Strategy in EU Foreign Policy "calls on the Commission and Council to promote and preserve high standards of digital freedom in the EU, in particular by codifying the principle of net neutrality".

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26 October 2012 - EP calls for network neutarlity, again[edit]

The European Parliament "calls the Commission to propose legislation to ensure net neutarlity" in it's Report to complete the Digital Single Market.

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23 July 2012 - New EC consultation launched[edit]

The European Commission has announced yet another consultation process on the preservation on the open internet.

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29 May 2012 - BEREC publishes findings[edit]

The Body of European Regulators for Electornic Communications has published its findings on network neutrality. It does not endorse legislation on the matter, but calls for transparency and possiblity for users to easily switch providers, as this would de facto guarantee a neutral network. The same document comes to the conclusion, that at least one in every 5 mobile internet connections is restricted in one way or another.

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8 May 2012 - Netherlands adopt network neutrality legislation[edit]

After former telecom monopoly KPN had announced plans to charge mobile phone users for Skype or instant messages, the Netherlands have become the first country in the European Union to adopt network neutrality legislation. The motion passed with a broad majority in the national parliament.

7 November 2011 - European Parliament Resolution[edit]

The European Parliament urges the Commission to adopt a legislation that prevents internet service providers from blocking, impairing or degrading any services.

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15 October 2011 - BEREC announces planned guidelines for net neutrality[edit]

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications strts a consultation in order to gather best practices and set up guildelines on net neutrality and transparency.

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7 October 2011 EDPS adopts official opinion[edit]

The European Data Protection Supervisor has adopted an opinion on network neutrality.

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