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Parliamentary questions
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13 November 2017
E-005328/2017(ASW)
Answer given by Vice-President Ansip on behalf of the Commission
Question reference: E-005328/2017

Article 3(1) of Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 sets out the right of end-users to access and distribute information and content, use and provide applications and services, and use terminal equipment of their choice via their Internet access service. Article 3(2) provides that agreements between providers of Internet access services and end-users on commercial and technical conditions and the characteristics of Internet access services, and any commercial practices conducted by providers of Internet access services, may not limit the exercise of the above right. According to Article 3(3), providers of Internet access services shall not block, slow down, alter, restrict, interfere with, degrade or discriminate between specific content, applications or services, or specific categories thereof, save for three limited exceptions defined in the regulation. There is no exception for end-user consent.

Article 2(2) of the regulation defines ‘Internet access service’ as a publicly available electronic communications service that provides access to the Internet, and thereby connectivity to virtually all end points of the Internet. Recital 4 of the regulation explains that certain end points of the Internet may not always be accessible.

It follows from the above that the provision of an Internet access service whose terms of service restrict access to specific information, content, applications or services, or categories thereof, result in limited access to the Internet and as such would be contrary to Article 3 of the regulation. This is further explained in paragraph 17 of the BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) guidelines(1). Whether the end-user has the ability to disable that restriction would not affect the above assessment.

(1)http://berec.europa.eu/eng/document_register/subject_matter/berec/download/0/6160-berec-guidelines-on-the-implementation-b_0.pdf

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