Wednesday, November 10, 2010

European Commission: Competition, Open Internet, No New Net Neutrality Rules

Competition is the open Internet's best friend and, in general, European service providers have upheld the principle of open access, said Neelie Kroes, who heads the European Commission's digital agenda.

In a speech in Brussels on 'The Open Internet and Net Neutrality in Europe', Kroes said a healthy competitive environment and the market force of consumers demanding access to services like Skype, so far have blocked the emergence of monopolistic gatekeepers which could create serious dangers for net neutrality.
Kroes believes that traffic management is essential, not only to optimise "best effort services" on the open Internet, but also to allow the development of special managed services, such as eLearning or eHealth applications, which are very valuable for European society.
She warned against new regulation which might deter investment and an efficient use of the available resources, and restated the principle that national regulatory authorities must at the same time "promote the ability of end-users to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice."

  • In September, he European Commission adopted several measures aimed at boosting the roll-out and take up of fast- and ultra-fast broadband as part of its Digital Agenda for Europe. The goal is to ensure that every European citizen could access basic broadband by 2013, and fast- and ultra-fast broadband by 2020. The newly adopted measures include:

    A recommendation on access to next-generation networks, so that telecoms operators would know what EU laws will apply and that rules be consistent across the single market. The recommendation primarily covers remedies to be imposed upon operators designated with Significant Market Power (SMP) to ensure sharing of facilities. The recommendation holds that national regulatory authorities should also use their powers to facilitate the deployment of multiple fibre lines where feasible to ensure long term competition. The document also contends that alternative operators, some of whom have already deployed their own networks to connect to the unbundled copper loop of the SMP operator, "need to be provided with appropriate access products in order to continue to compete in an NGA context. For FTTH these may consist of access to civil engineering infrastructure, to the terminating segment, to the unbundled fibre loop (including dark fibre) or of wholesale broadband access, as the case may be."
    A proposal to ensure that spectrum is available by 2013 for wireless broadband using the 800 MHz band. The European Commission has already adopted a recommendation calling for analogue broadcasting to be switched off by 1 January 2012, and this band should be made available for electronic communications in the EU by 2013. In the longer term, additional spectrum below 790 MHz could also be envisaged, depending on experience and the lack of spectrum in other bands adequate for coverage. Considering the capacity of the 800 MHz band to transmit over large areas, the EC believes coverage obligations should be attached to rights.

See also