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Parliamentary questions
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30 May 2012
Question for written answer E-005426/2012
to the Commission
Rule 117
Marietje Schaake (ALDE)

 Subject: BEREC findings and EU action on net neutrality
 Answer in writing 

On 29 May 2012, the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) published the results of its rigorous fact-finding exercise on issues such as barriers to switching operators, blocking or throttling of Internet traffic, and transparency and quality of service. In her blog, Commissioner Kroes(1) reiterates the Commission’s position that transparency and the ability to switch operators should be enough to preserve net neutrality and consumer choice. However, the figures presented by BEREC show what many people suspected: when the market is left unregulated, it is in the interests of telecom providers and ISPs to throttle certain data streams and block certain services. In order to preserve an open Internet, with all the economic and societal benefits it offers, net neutrality must be enshrined in law.

1. Does the Commission agree that the only way to ensure a level playing field where all EU providers offer the option to subscribe to full, unthrottled Internet access is to enshrine this obligation in EU telecommunications law? If not, why not?

2. Does the Commission agree that mere guidance has proved insufficient? How will the existing guidelines be enforced?

3. Will the Commission also require providers to keep the open Internet option affordable for the general public, to avoid widening the digital divide?

4. Will the Commission ban the use of technologies likely to be used to throttle certain data streams? If not, why not?

5. Does the Commission intend to transcribe transparency requirements into law and ensure proper implementation by the Member States? If not, can an operator be forced to adhere to transparency requirements if they are not regulated by law?

6. Does the Commission agree that, if it does not act immediately, Member States will use the results of the BEREC research to draw up their own net neutrality laws, which may lead to a very fragmented European telecom market? If it disagrees, what are its grounds for doing so?


 OJ C 197 E, 10/07/2013
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