Today Europe’s crucial telecoms package, part of the “Connected Continent” reforms to create a singe EU telecoms market, passed through its first European Parliament vote. The most notable aspects of the bill are the amendments that define and protect net neutrality.
The bill has been hotly debated, and after the legislation went through an industry committee, many policymakers concerned with maintaining net neutrality said the committee left major loopholes in the legislation that put net neutrality at risk. The Socialist, Liberal, Green and Left parties in the European Parliament introduced new amendments after the final committee to fix loopholes that would have allowed telecommunications companies to classify web services of their choice as “specialized services” subject to differential treatment.
For neutrality advocates, passing this contested definition was a big win. And luckily the net neutrality debate did not halt the package, which also includes new laws to eliminate roaming fees in Europe. Now the entire package will need to pass through to the next Parliament (elections are coming up in May),and then the representatives of European countries for final approval.
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