EU Telecom Package: a compromise on net neutrality

27 October 2015 – After long negotiations, the European Parliament reached a compromise on the EU Telecom Package that was approved today in the plenary session. The agreed reforms include provisions for net neutrality and for elimination of roaming charges in the EU. The IT SME community has followed the debate on this important package of reforms that will have an impact on the competitiveness of Europe’s digital economy. PIN-SME welcomes the Parliament decision: “The main concern of IT SMEs is maintaining the internet as a neutral field. We are pleased that all parties see the best-effort principle in the network neutrality as the basis for the control of digital networks in Europe” said PIN-SME president Dr. Oliver Grün. “The fact that different categories of data may be prioritized differently in individual cases is an acceptable restriction, provided that these categories of data are all treated equally and the intervention is necessary” Grün pointed out. According to the best-effort principle providers should treat all data packets equally regardless of their content, application, origin. No unjustified discrimination is possible.

PIN-SME is critical on the fact that the categories of data are not yet finally defined and encourages the regulators to give guidance to the national regulatory bodies for the restrictive definition of specialized services that allow traffic management.

“Specialized services should be provided for certain clearly defined areas and not be abused by big companies as a backdoor against net neutrality. IT SMEs are also concerned that those companies may thereby obtain false incentives. Now, they are allowed to restrict the data throughput, when the network load increases. We would have preferred a greater incentive to expand the grid” Grün pointed out.