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European Government Agrees On Net Neutrality Rules, With Exemptions 37

An anonymous reader writes: The European Union's three main legislative bodies, the European Council, the European Parliment, and the European Commision, have reached an agreement on "Open Internet" rules that establish principles similar to Net Neutrality in the EU. The rules require that all internet traffic and users be treated equally, forbidding paid-for prioritisation of traffic. However, exemptions are permitted for particular "specialised services" where the service is not possible under the open network's normal conditions, provided that the customer using the service pays for the privilege. (The examples given are IPTV, teleconferencing, and telepresence surgery.) Zero-rating — exempting particular data from traffic caps — is also permitted, but will be subject to oversight. Notably, this means (if all goes as promised) the elimination of cellphone roaming fees within the EU; however, that's been promised and delayed before.
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European Government Agrees On Net Neutrality Rules, With Exemptions

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  • exemptions are permitted for particular "specialised services" where the service is not possible under the open network's normal conditions

    Cue a bunch of ISPs playing games with the definition of "normal conditions".

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      The network's normal conditions are insufficient for specialized services such as video streaming, online video games, voice calls, and other such fringe usages of the internet. Therefore, we can apply special rules to those usages, and then throttle everything else down to nothing.

      Now that's what I call neutral.

      • I suspect that for conventional services that the easy to apply rule is that if a competing ISP can deliver a service without exemptions then woe to the ISP trying to claim exemption. It's smart to keep it end-user-pays to keep the com casts from ransoming the net flixes,

        Even so it's hard to see how this works automatically even under U.S. Rules. Let's assume that in a neutral world there is some advantage to be had for a better stream. Would not a Netflix competitor want to gain that? And the way they

        • I've found HBO go (don't know how different it is than now, or if it's purely market segmentation) to be far inferior at scaling my video bitrate. So I usually get better picture, but more buffering.

          Your statement that Netflix buffers more too though leaves me at a loss.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        A first good law is always open to abuse. Like including the GOTO statement in the C language. Turns out, it rarely gets abused.

        Telesurgery *is* a fair exception and there needed to be a place for it. When two hospitals 1000 miles apart need a link with a guaranteed latency 3 ms for *your* surgery, I'll wager you'll be glad to pay a fee to the carriers involved for absolute top priority packets.

        This is a step in the right direction. Hopefully one of of many.

    • by jopsen ( 885607 ) <jopsen@gmail.com> on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @12:12PM (#50019393) Homepage

      Cue a bunch of ISPs playing games with the definition of "normal conditions".

      Then they'll get sued... and if that doesn't work politicians will make new law clarifying the intend.

      Many EU member countries are good at not letting companies play word games..

  • by MozeeToby ( 1163751 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @09:07AM (#50018111)

    Am I the only one that reads that list of exemptions and thinks that this is... not very neutral? QOS is fine but paying for QOS on a protocol by protocol basis? Not counting paid partner's data towards datacaps? This is net neutrality in name only IMO.

    • I think the exceptions make sense if implemented properly.. there could be devils in the details.You get what you pay for, and you can pay for extra features if you want. They key is that YOU decide and pay, and as long as the options are open with no favorites, it seems it could be done quite fairly.
    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      They mean that the customer pays to have their low latency traffic prioritized. Basically what some business packages already offer.

      The datacap thing is more worrying. It is supposed to work like "all streaming music is exempt", not "just our streaming music service is exempt", but that has to be enforced by regulators. It's hard to see how they would exempt all streaming music services anywhere in the world, from a technical point of view. Streaming over HTTP looks a lot like downloading a very large file

      • The datacap thing is more worrying. It is supposed to work like "all streaming music is exempt", not "just our streaming music service is exempt", but that has to be enforced by regulators. It's hard to see how they would exempt all streaming music services anywhere in the world, from a technical point of view.

        They may have to limit these exceptions to things that require very high bandwidth (HD IPTV) and/or very low latency (Videoconferencing). Then music streaming would not be considered an exception. I agree that how (and how much) they keep those exception lanes open to competitors is the tough question.

    • Not counting paid partner's data towards datacaps? This is net neutrality in name only IMO.

      Yeah, no shit.

      This basically allows people to set up a competitor to something like NetFlix, and then say "well, when you use NetFlix, you pay for data, when you use our service it's free" -- which is precisely what companies have been doing.

      So, with this, they can either extort money from NetFlix, or make customers pay more to use NetFlix than their own service.

      It's easy to undercut the competition when you can get a

      • Yep that's the problem. Drilling down on this one sees how slippery this greased pig is. Example. Company zflix offers consumers a swell deal: they will pay the consumers bill for anything over their current data cap up to the number of bytes they stream from zflix. This if the consumer has a low end 1gb data cap and streams 4gb from zflix then zflix pays the differential to the consumer (at some winky wink preferred bulk rate to Comcast). The net effect is the same as if Comcast had ransomed zflix but

    • by Aleph-G ( 4168355 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @11:00AM (#50018915)

      Yes, it's not Net Neutrality.

      The news's title is poorly chosen and should be changed. Right now it's just Europa propaganda. I'm a little sad to see Slashdot spread this false information.

      Here is the reaction of the Quadrature du Net, a French association fighting for net freedom:
      https://www.laquadrature.net/e... [laquadrature.net]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There is no such thing as "European Government".

  • by Peter H.S. ( 38077 ) on Tuesday June 30, 2015 @09:25AM (#50018215) Homepage

    At first glance the new net neutrality rules looks very good. The "non-blocking" rules seems to make default and opt-out ISP porn-filtering illegal. If a site/service isn't illegal in one way or another, the ISP must not block it.

    Sure, the ISP can offer various content filters as an opt in solution, leaving any such decisions to the individual where such decisions belongs, but the ISP can't "opt in" everybody, nor can any member state make any such filters mandatory.

    From a free speech perspective that is a huge win on top of the network traffic net-neutrality rules.

    I can't see anywhere if these rules are only binding within the EU, or if it is legal to block/throttle non-illegal sites and traffic from sites outside the EU. Does anybody know?

     

    • No they cannot offer content filtering or SPAM blocking, those are not allowed under the exemptions. they were discussed and then because of socialist lobbyists they were removed.
      The only exception is if the nation requires them
      • Of course SPAM filtering is allowed under the new rules.

        Maybe there is an EU member state where SPAM/UCE is legal, but in all EU countries I know of, it is illegal and therefore can be blocked. Not only is the act of spamming illegal, but since they almost always use criminal methods like mass hacking, that fact too is reason for blocking all such SPAM.

        ISP default content filtering or state mandated content filtering of legal stuff will be prohibited. So the UK state dictated "opt out" filtering will be ill

        • There is no defined definition of what SPAM is for EU countries, it varies on the country.

          Vicky Ford, a MEP and part of Parliamentâ(TM)s ECR Group negotiating team has twittered about it and said various new releases that say ISP SPAM and content filtering is allowed are based on old versions.
          If you go read the latest EC press release it mentions right in there that member states can set their own filtering, which is an exception to the non-filtering rule.
          So maybe a MEP and the EC sites are both wr
          • The conservatives are just getting their panties in a bunch because they can no longer demand "moral" state backed censorship of the net.

            Hyperbolic claims are about SPAM not being allowed to be blocked, are just sad political attempts to institute state sponsored censorship through the backdoor.

            Looking at V. Ford's homepage just says she unsurprisingly supports companies right to unlimited spamming of customers, something that the new rules also forbid.

  • "Notably, this means (if all goes as promised) the elimination of cellphone roaming fees within the EU; however, that's been promised and delayed before."

    It will work. First of all, Marietje Schaake rules and will not let go; she is on top of it for years now. Second of all, "Europe/Brussels" has something to prove to European citizens, that it does useful things for them. This is one topic that is highly visible to the common people, so it is hard to ignore by the powers that be.

    Bert

  • Notably, this means (if all goes as promised) the elimination of cellphone roaming fees within the EU

    No it doesn't. They're two different (albeit related) things that happened to be announced at the same time. One is not a consequence of the other.

    Protip: learn to read before attempting to write.

  • This may have been an opportunity for EU to make something useful for its Peoples. But given how stupidly EU leaders manage the Greece debt crisis, I am not sure EU will exist long enough to implement net neutrality.

We can predict everything, except the future.

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