Saturday, 17 December 2011

Open internet and net neutrality in EU

The TTE Council of the European Union met to deal with transport and telecommunications issues:

3134th Council meeting Transport, Telecommunications and Energy; Brussels, 12 and 13 December 2011 (document 18416/11; 27 pages)

The general TTE conclusions offer an overview of the Council's response to the open internet and net neutrality, issued in relation to the Digital Agenda (pages 19-20):

Open internet and net neutrality

The Council adopted conclusions on the open internet and net neutrality in Europe (17904/11).

These conclusions were drawn up on the basis of the Commission communication on the subject published in April 2011 (9350/11). This communication seeks to fulfil the Commission commitment to preserve "the open and neutral character of the internet, taking full account of the will of the co-legislators now to enshrine net neutrality as a policy objective and regulatory principle to be promoted by national regulatory authorities". This commitment was made in its declaration on net neutrality when the 2009 telecoms package was concluded (OJ C 308, 18.12.2009, p.2).

In the conclusions the Council underlines, inter alia, the need to preserve the open and neutral character of the internet and consider net neutrality as a policy objective. It welcomes the Commission's intention to assess the need, based on investigations by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications' (BEREC), for more stringent measures and to publish additional guidance on net neutrality if necessary. In addition, it welcomes the Commission's commitments to monitor the implementation of the EU regulatory framework for electronic communications and services and to issue a code of existing EU online rights by 2012.

The Commission is invited, inter alia, to assess, jointly with BEREC, the discrepancy between advertised and actual delivery speeds occurring in member states, and report to the Council and the Parliament on the situation thereof by 2012. Furthermore, the Commission is invited to provide additional information on the best practices in traffic management and on how to respond to the requirements of global service providers concerning quality and pricing of services.

Open internet and net neutrality

The general conclusions refer and link to the specific conclusions prepared by Coreper and dated 1 December 2011:

Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions - "The open internet and net neutrality in Europe" - Adoption of Council conclusions (document 17904/11, available in the other EU languages as well; 9 pages)

If you want to be on the safe side, you can compare with the text distributed to the press after TTE adoption, at this point in English and French.

COM(2011) 222

There is a link to the communication from the Commission (Council document 9350/11), but through Eur-Lex we can access COM(2011) 222 in 22 languges and three document formats. Here to the English version (pdf):

The open internet and net neutrality in Europe; Brussels, 19.4.2011 COM(2011) 222 final (10 pages)

Ralf Grahn