Wednesday, April 20, 2011

EU: "It's not OK for Skype and other such services to be throttled"

The EU is taking Net Neutrlity "very seriously" as stated by Neelie Kroes (picture), European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda.
Ms. Kroes presented the EU report on Net Neutrality ("The open internet and net neutrality in Europe" - here) in a press conference held in Brussels on April 19. She started by stating:
".. This is a timely report because it comes just one month before the new EU telecoms rules are due to come into force in all Member States on 25 May [see below]. As you know, I am a firm believer in the power of competition to promote consumer interests. That means I see a clear role for using these pro-competitive new rules to ensure an open and neutral internet"

And then - directly to the heart of the issue. Few quotes:
  • For example, I am informed that some internet providers practise so-called "throttling", where they slow down certain types of traffic, such as video streaming provided by a competitor, in order to degrade the quality of content. Some mobile internet operators block voice over internet protocol (VoIP) services
  • One UK operator is said to make Skype calls technically impossible in afternoons and evenings without warning users. Others scare users from using the service or ban it altogether
  • Today's report shows a general consensus that traffic management can be useful. For example, it is important to keep video calls running smoothly even if that means an email is delayed by a few seconds
  • The Commission will spend 2011 closely looking at current market practices
See "Neelie Kroes European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda The internet belongs to all of us Press conference on Net Neutrality Communication Brussels, 19th April 2011" - here.

Regarding the rules mentioned above [here]:

"There is no set definition of 'net neutrality' but it will be a legal requirement under EU law as from 25 May 2011 that Member States' telecoms regulatory authorities promote the ability of internet users "to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice" (Article 8(§4)g of the telecoms Framework Directive 2002/21/EC, as amended by Directive 2009/140/EC). Other rules directly relevant to net neutrality that enter into force on 25 May as part of new EU telecoms rules include requirements concerning:
  • transparency (e.g. any restrictions limiting access to services or applications, connection speeds)
  • quality of service (regulators can set minimum quality levels) and
  • the ability to switch operator (within one working day).
See also "EU "Open Internet" Public Consultation - Neutrality Needed - but Works Fine Today, without Regulation" - here.

No comments:

Post a Comment