European Commission Digs into ISP Traffic Management Practices

Lora Bentley

I mentioned last week that Neelie Kroes, the European Commissioner responsible for information policy, issued a report that essentially maintains the status quo in the European Union on net neutrality. Though Internet service providers in the 27 member countries of the European Union will have to be transparent to customers and regulators regarding how they manage traffic, no "traffic-shaping measures" will be forbidden. Kroes did say, however, that practices designed to discriminate against particular types of content will not be tolerated.


Monday, reported Kroes and other regulators are already looking into some ISPs' questionable practices. In a statement, Kroes said:

At the end of 2011, I will present the findings and will publicly name operators engaging in doubtful practices. I will be looking particularly closely for any instances of unannounced blocking or throttling of certain types of traffic, and any misleading advertising of broadband speeds.

She also noted that the EU may face more prescriptive regulations, or even legislation, if she finds pervasive blocking or throttling of traffic.


Interestingly, the European Commission points to the work done by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, as well as the net neutrality principles adopted in 2005, as "a strong framework" upon which to begin building. But rules based on that very same framework are being challenged as invalid and inappropriate here in the U.S. Only time will tell whether ISPs in the EU will balk at the prospect of such rules there as well.

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