Definitive EU net neutrality guidelines released

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has published the final guidelines aimed at helping EU member states’ National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) implement EU net neutrality rules.

EU net neutrality

Net neutrality is the principle that ISPs and governments must apply an “equal and non-discriminatory treatment of (Internet) traffic.”

The road to the guidelines was long, and involved consultations with European-level stakeholders, academic, legal and technical experts, and the public.

The guidelines are published together with an accompanying consultation report summarising stakeholders’ views submitted and how they have been taken into account.

“BEREC’s Guidelines not about creating new rules; rather, about providing guidance on the regulatory implementation of existing rules,” the organization noted.

Here is a summary of the main changes that the guidelines effected, including more clarification on zero-rating, traffic management, and specialized services.

European Digital Rights (EDRi), an association of civil and human rights organizations from across Europe, is satisfied with the guidelines, and calls them a win for net neutrality in Europe.

Previously, they weren’t too content with the European Net Neutrality Rules themselves, deeming them too vague. They hoped that BEREC’s guidelines would fix that problem, and apparently they did.

“Based on a preliminary reading of the text, this is a triumph for the European digital rights movement,” net neutrality activist Thomas Lohninger from commented. “After a very long battle, and with the support of half a million people, the principles that make the internet an open platform for change, freedom and prosperity are upheld in the EU.”

Joe McNamee, Executive Director of EDRi, congratulated BEREC on “its diligent work, its expertise and its refusal to bend to the unreasonable pressure placed on it by the big telecoms lobby,” and boasted that “Europe is now a global standard-setter in the defence of the open, competitive and neutral internet.”

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