We have just finished this morning’s vote on the Connected Continent report in the IMCO committee in the European parliament. The result was very positive.
With an overwhelming majority, we voted to uphold the principle of Net Neutrality in Europe.
The support for the key amendments included both of the big groups EPP and S&D (in addition to the Greens/Pirates and others).
The key compromise amendments that were adopted were:
Compromise Amendment 10
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point 14
(14) ‘internet access service’ means a publicly available electronic communications service that provides connectivity to the internet, and between virtually all end points connected to the internet, irrespective of the network technologies or terminal equipment used;
Compromise Amendment 11
Article 2 – paragraph 2 – point 15
(15) ‘specialised service’ means an electronic communications service, optimised for specific content, applications or services, or a combination thereof, by deploying traffic management to ensure the appropriate level of network capacity and quality, provided over logically distinct capacity and relying on strict admission control, with a view to securing enhanced quality characteristics which are controlled from end-to-end and that is not marketed or used as a substitute for internet access services;
Compromise Amendment 13
Article 23 – paragraph 2
2. End-users shall also be free to enjoy specialised services delivered by providers of electronic communications services or providers of content, applications and services.
Providers of electronic communication services or providers of content, applications and services shall be allowed to offer specialised services, provided that such offers arein addition to internet access services and are not to the material detriment of their availability or quality.
For competent authorities to be able to assess such potential detriment, providers of electronic communication services or providers of content, applications and services shall transmit to them, upon request, precise information regarding the capacities assigned to the two types of services, the criteria based on which network capacity is shared and, where appropriate, justifications about the measures put in place to prevent impairment of internet access services by the specialised services.
This was a victory, and it is especially encouraging that the amendments were adopted by such a broad majority. But of course it ain’t over yet.
The next step in the procedure is that the Industry committee ITRE will vote on the net neutrality issue. What will happen there we don’t yet know, but I hope this morning’s vote in IMCO will send a strong signal to ITRE.
The Commission’s original proposal contained a lot of quite good language on net neutrality, but unfortunately at the same time opened a huge loophole through a far too lax definition of ”specialised services”.
The positive vote in IMCO this morning was an important step towards closing that loophole, and protecting the free and open Internet.
Here are all the final compromise amendments on the standard 2-column .doc format