The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) and the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) encouraged the European Parliament to support net neutrality in advance if its April 3rd vote on the Telecoms Single Market Regulation.
They commended the work of the Parliamentary Committees that have issued opinions on the dossier suggesting the Parliament has dealt with this wide-ranging and complex proposal effectively and efficiently.
They noted that for the vote, a number of political groups have proposed amendments to the text adopted by the lead ITRE Committee. “On the whole, these amendments would improve the ITRE text, and we, along with other civil society groups and trade associations encourage the full Parliament to support the amendments proposed by the S&D, Green, ALDE and GUE groups,” they said.
CDT and the CCIA have been engaged in the net neutrality debate in the EU for some time. They said they “strongly support” enshrining net neutrality principles in European law, and welcomed the European Commission’s proposal for a regulation when it was published in September 2013 – but also pointed to important loopholes in the text. “We support the thrust of the Commission’s proposal and the ITRE text: establishing the primacy of the open, ‘best efforts’ Internet, while enabling ISPs to deploy specialised services under certain conditions,” they said.
They suggested the debate leading up to the vote had been controversial and emotional, and had been cast as a decision for or against the ‘open Internet’. “The reality is more complex,” they state, suggesting that after the vote, EU-wide net neutrality legislation that bans practices such as throttling and blocking would be one step closer. “This is progress, but the legislation in its current form will not solve all the complex issues involved. More work will be required, as member states debate the proposal over the coming months. And, no matter how the final wording of definitions, obligations, and permissions looks, European regulators will need to monitor the evolution of the market carefully and enforce the rules so that consumers can choose which services they want and innovators of all types can flourish,” they concluded.