European Parliament Votes in Favor of Net Neutrality

Following up on our story from earlier, the European Parliament has voted in favor of amendments that proper define net neutrality as well as ending roaming fees by 2016. The changes address a number of loopholes that telecom companies were able to exploit and change Internet services to “specialized services”. The vote declares that all Internet traffic must be treated equally.

A statement from Amelia Anderdotter, a Swedish MEP, read:

“Thankfully, a majority of MEPs has seen sense today and voted to uphold the principle of net neutrality in the EU. The proposals by the Commission, which would essentially have given large providers the all-clear for discriminating against users as they see fit, have been revised. Today’s vote would explicitly provide for net neutrality and will hopefully ensure a level playing field for all online services and users, providing for a more open internet environment in which innovation is encouraged.”

“This vote is the EU delivering for citizens,” said Neelie Kroes on the vote, European commissioner for digital affairs, reported by Reuters. “This is what the EU is all about – getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive. We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped-off, and we should have the opportunity to change our mind.”

The parliament also placed a number of restrictions what kind of charges telecoms operators can put on big names like Facebook, Google, and Netflix in exchange for faster speeds.

Lobbyists for the telecoms companies were not pleased with the result. ETNO, who represent Orange and Telefonica is one of them. “Today’s vote risks derailing the original objectives of the Connected Continent Regulation, namely a strong European digital industry igniting growth and jobs creation,” commented the group’s head Luigi Gambardella.

You can read the European Parliament’s full amendments here (PDF).