October 6, 2010
It is vitally important when the European Commission is reviewing submissions to its public consultation on ‘The open Internet and net neutrality in Europe’ that it carefully considers net neutrality in the European context.
Net neutrality is closely linked with broadband policy: in Europe, our policy choices have typically led to more competitors being active on the broadband Internet market, so that the risks which allegedly warrant net neutrality legislation are not pressing. Furthermore, EU competition law and sector-specific regulation are already sufficient to deal with any issues which might arise.
We are concerned that, in the absence of a clear case for legislative intervention, additional net neutrality legislation could have an adverse impact on investment and roll-out of next generation broadband networks.
Instead, for the present, regulatory and competition authorities in Europe should monitor network management practices and the introduction of differentiated quality of service offerings, in order to be ready to intervene with their existing powers if any problems arise, such as anti-competitive discrimination, blocking or the fragmentation of the internal market.
That is what we have emphasised in our response to the Commission’s consultation.
Professor Pierre Larouche
Professor Martin Cave
Joint Academic Directors
Centre on Regulation in Europe (CERRE)Author : Letters to the EurActiv editor