Net Neutrality? Not In the European Union

At the ‘The Open Internet and Net Neutrality in Europe’ summit last week, Europe’s leading Internet policy maker cited healthy competition as the reason the EU will not introduce net neutrality legislation designed to prevent companies from prioritizing – or blocking – certain content as has been proposed in the U.S.

Instead, EU nations will continue to rely on established guidelines that protect consumers and prevent anticompetitive behavior by telecommunications and cable firms, said Neelie Kroes E.U. commissioner for the digital agenda. Referring to the EU’s telecom regulatory framework adopted by the European Commission in 2009, which provides clear guidelines for what is and isn’t permissible behavior, Kroes added that the national regulatory authorities overseeing the practices of their local network operators are “our best insurance policy” and “competition is the open Internet’s best friend.”

The EU’s decision appears to be another blow to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which has been unsuccessful in adopting net neutrality legislation, particularly after the recent court decision favoring Comcast cast further doubts on the FCC’s authority over any broadband regulation.

The EU’s decision could change should “significant and persistent problems” anticompetitive problems emerge in the future, said Kroes, but believes consumers will guide the industry’s behavior.

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