Brussels, 9 November 2010
Digital Agenda: consultation reveals near consensus on importance of preserving open internet
There is a near consensus on the importance of preserving the openness of the internet, according to the results of a public consultation launched on 30th June by the European Commission on the open internet and net neutrality (see IP/10/860). A total of 318 stakeholders at every level of the value chain provided input to the consultation. These included BEREC, the body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications, operators, internet service providers, Member States' authorities, consumer and civil society organisations as well as individuals. The consultation did not reveal a widespread call for further EU legislation, but there is an expectation that additional guidance may be needed in the future. Discussions will continue on 11th November at the "Net neutrality summit" at which the Commission and the European Parliament will discuss a forthcoming Commission report on net neutrality.
Vice-President Neelie Kroes said: "Our public consultation has attracted a wide range of responses. The exercise has provided the Commission with a very broad spectrum of views from all those interests involved. I look forward to continuing the discussions during the Summit which will contribute further to our work on net neutrality."
The public consultation ran from 30th June to 30th September. The Commission wanted to look more deeply into issues such as internet traffic management, transparency, quality of service considerations and whether the EU's new telecom rules are adequate. Among the main findings:
The responses included few calls for minimum quality-of-service requirements at this stage, but clear support for industry-wide standards on transparency to enable consumers to make informed choices. Many respondents consider that transparency by itself would not allay all net neutrality concerns, particularly where there are barriers to switching between internet service providers.
As part of the 2009 EU telecoms reform package (see MEMO/09/568), the Commission committed itself to scrutinise closely the open and neutral nature of the internet and to report on the state of play to the European Parliament and the EU's Council of Ministers. The consultation on 'The open internet and net neutrality in Europe' ran for 3 months this summer, as part of the Commission's preparations for the report.
The analysis and responses are available at: