European Parliament Votes Against Net Neutrality

Robin Wauters of

Alas, the European Parliament has voted against all amendments to a bill on the European single market for electronic communications, failing to properly protect net neutrality in these parts.

That means ISPs will be able to create Internet ‘fast lanes’ for those who pay to have their content load more rapidly by calling them ‘specialized services’, exempt applications from users’ monthly bandwidth cap (zero-rating), define ‘classes of services’ (and discriminate by speeding up or slowing down traffic in those classes) and also to slow down traffic to prevent ‘impending congestion’ (huh?).

Against the backdrop of the EU threatening to prosecute Google for creating a crappy competitive environment, this decision is mystifying. Do they think ISPs will be better competitors? Do they think they’ll discriminate against traffic fairly, or as “fair” as traffic discrimination can be?

German Green MEP Julia Reda:

The internet’s open structure is what made it the successful driver of growth and innovation in the digital economy and digital culture that it is today. That providers will be allowed to discriminate against certain traffic not only creates a two-tier internet, it also removes incentives for carriers to extend their capacities.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee:

If adopted as currently written, these rules will threaten innovation, free speech and privacy, and compromise Europe’s ability to lead in the digital economy.

To underpin continued economic growth and social progress, Europeans deserve the same strong net neutrality protections similar to those recently secured in the United States. As a European, and the inventor of the Web, I urge politicians to heed this call.

I couldn’t say it any better myself than Reda or Berners-Lee.