Parliament today approved a call to keep the internet open and neutral, by ensuring that EU telecoms rules are properly enforced. They also called on the European Commission to monitor internet traffic management practices, so as to ensure, for example, that end users do not lose their connections whenever networks are congested.
The resolution stresses the need to enforce the EU's telecoms regulatory framework consistently and to monitor internet traffic management practices closely, so as to preserve the open and neutral character of internet.
It would benefit everyone if the Commission were to provide EU-wide guidelines to ensure that EU telecoms rules on net neutrality are properly applied and enforced, says the text.
MEPs also asked the Commission to assess, within six months of the publication of a report on an investigation by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), whether further regulation is needed to ensure freedom of expression, freedom of access of information, freedom of choice for consumers and media pluralism.
Internet traffic management
Parliament calls on the Commission, the Member States and BEREC, "to closely monitor the development of traffic management practices", e.g. to ensure that end users' connections are not disrupted by network congestion, and that "Internet Service Providers do not block, discriminate against or impair the ability of any person to use or offer any service, content or application of their choice irrespective of source or target".
"Reasonable data traffic management is required and very useful to prevent network congestion and the smooth running of applications and services. Nonetheless, it is clearly understood that traffic management practices must not be used for anti-competitive purposes", said Industry, Research and Energy Committee chair Herbert Reul (EPP, DE).
EU ministers plan to adopt conclusions on the open internet and net neutrality in Europe at the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy Council on 13 December 2011.
Procedure: Motions for resolutions