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Net neutrality report finds many not following rules in Europe

Net neutrality report finds many not following rules in Europe

Nearly 3 years after the EU net neutrality regulations came into effect, neither service providers nor national regulators have been role models in following the rules, a report has concluded, notes Telecoms.com. The report, from Epicenter.works and titled “The net neutrality situation in the EU: Evaluation of the first two years of enforcement”, examines how the regulation is interpreted differently by the regulators and how the service providers have taken it into their own hands to decide what to implement, or not implement in the 28 EU member states as well as the three EEA nations (Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein). “The results were not the most encouraging reading.” The EU regulation on net neutrality came into effect on 30 April 2016. The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communication (BEREC) was mandated to lay down guidelines on the implementation for the national regulators. However, unlike other laws like GDPR, the net neutrality rules give member states the authority to decide the level of penalties if the rules are broken.  “This has led to a situation where some member states have not laid down rules for violations of net neutrality protections 2 years after the regulation entered into force,” the report says. More specifically, 17 out of the 31 countries examined have not defined “effective and dissuasive penalties”, while in those countries that have defined monetary penalties, the amounts varied from a symbolic €9,600 in Estonia, to up to 10% of relevant turnover in the Netherlands or the UK. The report finds that, as a result of the less than strict implementation, “the largest telecoms companies in Europe can choose not to comply with the law because it is financially advantageous for them”. Most offences are differential pricing practices, in particular zero-rating data for selected applications and services. Although only Bulgaria and Germany have excluded “illegal commercial practices” (price discrimination when providing access to specific applications and services, in this case, zero-rating certain apps or services) from their penalty provisions, a total of 186 differential pricing products are being offered in all but three member states (Finland, Slovenia, Bulgaria), the majority (144 offerings) of them zero-rating (the rest are application-specific data volume). See more and read report here.

  • Tuesday, 19 February 2019

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