European Union Addresses Net Neutrality Issues

Lora Bentley
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Why All the Hype Over Net Neutrality?

Learn what net neutrality is all about and why it's so important.

Net neutrality is a hot-button issue in the U.S.-though it may be less of one once the newly-elected members of Congress take their seats in January. However, debate continues in Europe, according to The New York Times.


This week, the European Commission and Parliament will meet in Brussels to allow politicians, industry representatives and educators to discuss the issues surrounding who should pay for the Internet, the story says. Neelie Kroes, the telecommunications commissioner, will likely provide the most clues as to the direction the EU will take on these issues when she speaks at Thursday's all-day event. Kroes must report to parliament on the status of net neutrality by the end of the year.


Skype's European director of regulatory affairs, Jean-Jaques Sabel, says Kroes needs to make sure the EU's 27 national regulators take a hard stance to prevent operators from discriminating against rivals. Right now in Europe, most telecom operators charge an extra fee for VoIP services, and in Skype's view, that's economic discrimination. "The question is," he says, "where will it stop?"


But industry representatives and regulators alike have indicated there's not much need for new regulation at this point. A study by the EU's national telecom regulators found that though some providers were blocking or limiting Skype and file-sharing networks, the blocks stopped or the parties were able to resolve the issue after the media was alerted.


Similar tiered pricing measures have been implemented by some providers in the U.S.

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