Andreas Sandre


Net neutrality in Europe

New guidelines for European regulators for the open web

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has published its Guidelines to National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) on the implementation of the new net neutrality.

The publication of the new guidelines was part of the effort by the European Parliament and the European Council to bring down barriers in the Digital Single Market, including the elimination of roaming charges within the EU, and the creation of net neutrality rules for the first time in EU law.

ISPs [Internet Service Providers] are prohibited from blocking or slowing down of Internet traffic, except where necessary. The exceptions are limited to: traffic management to comply with a legal order, to ensure network integrity and security, and to manage congestion, provided that equivalent categories of traffic are treated equally. The provisions also enshrine in EU law a user’s right to be “free to access and distribute information and content, run applications and use services of their choice”. Specific provisions ensure that national authorities can enforce this new right.

As The Verge reported, “BEREC published draft guidelines on how the rules will be implemented by EU member states in June, and opened them to public consultation, garnering more than 480,000 responses.”

In July, a few days before the closing of the public consultation, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, father of the World Wide Web and founder of The Web Foundation, Professor Barbara van Schewick, Director of the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford University’s Law School, and Professor Larry Lessig of Harvard University, wrote an open letter to European citizens, lawmakers and regulators, to take action and protect net neutrality.

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