The U.S. may be embroiled in a bitter fight
over net neutrality
, but Europe
has few such issues. European Parliament voted to protect net neutrality rules by an overwhelming margin of 534 votes to 25 (with 58 abstentions).
Forbes quoted rapporteur Pilar del Castillo Vera as saying, “We have achieved further guarantees to maintain the openness of the internet by ensuring that users can run and provide applications and services of their choice as well as reinforcing the internet as a key driver of competitiveness, economic growth, jobs, social development and innovation.”
Now, ISPs can only slow down or block Internet
access with a court order, or to ensure network security or handle a congested network, and even in those cases the rules require transparency and must not be discriminatory in nature.
There’s also a provision that will allow some specialized services such as VOD and enterprise applications to be sold at a higher price, but again, those services can’t be anti-competitive.
The net neutrality rules will need to be approved by individual countries’ governments, and it’s not clear how enforcement will occur, but the strong vote bodes well for the future of the Internet in Europe. The U.S. would do well to follow suit.