Kroes reveals neutrality consultations

EU Commission VP Neelie Kroes has revealed plans to create new recommendations on net neutrality for ISPs. Kroes said she still wants to provide consumers with more transparency and choice in their Internet services. She plans three recommendations: for ISPs to provide clear information on actual, ‘real-life’ broadband speeds, more detailed information on limits to the service, such as quantified data ceilings rather than ‘vague’ fair-use policies, and restrictions on marketing ‘internet’ service that gives access to less than the full internet. Berec has opened three public consultations to help form the proposals.

The announcement comes alongside the release of the EU telecom regulator Berec’s survey of over 400 fixed and mobile Internet providers on net neutrality issues. It found that at least 20 per cent and potentially up to half of EU mobile broadband users have contracts that allow their provider to restrict services like VoIP or peer-to-peer file sharing. Around 20 per cent of fixed operators (across virtually all EU member states) apply restrictions such as limiting P2P at peak times. However, in nearly all EU states, most if not all ISPs offer some form of unrestricted access, Kroes said. According to the Berec figures, 85 per cent of all fixed ISPs and 76 per cent of all mobile ISPs propose at least one unrestricted internet offer.

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