Why All the Hype Over Net Neutrality?
Learn what net neutrality is all about and why it's so important.
Net neutrality continues to polarize stakeholders in the U.S. Legislators are doing their best to invalidate the regulations adopted by the Federal Communications Commission last year. Broadband providers continue to challenge the regulations in court.
The debate has not been quite as heated in the European Union. Regulators there had not spoken formally on the matter even as late as last year-despite a gathering in November at which politicians, academics and industry members thought they might get a few hints as to which way regulators were leaning. But as GigaOM reported, the European commissioner responsible for information policy, Neelie Kroes, finally set out a plan. But it's a plan writer Bobbie Johnson calls "a laissez-faire approach."
ISPs in European states will have to be transparent about the measures they take to control traffic, and be straightforward about the connection speeds when they are advertising. But there will be no ban of traffic shaping measures ... In return, Internet companies will have to meet minimum levels of service and make it easy for customers to switch to other providers.
In other words, the status quo is just fine with the European Commission.
But that doesn't mean the telecom companies and other ISPs can act with impunity, Kroes' report also emphasized that behaviors designed to give preferential treatment to or discriminate against certain service types will result in tighter restrictions on "traffic shaping practices." Such behavior could also result in fines.