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EU Government Network

EU Passes Net Neutrality Rules, Fails To Close Loopholes ( 59

An anonymous reader writes: European MEPs have voted to bring EU-wide net neutrality rules into effect next April. The rules most notably will abolish data roaming charges, a significant problem when country-hopping in Europe. Legislators hail the new rules as a major step forward, but critics point out that several major amendments failed to pass which would have closed serious loopholes in the rules. "Among the exceptions opposed by net neutrality supporters is one which allows providers to offer priority to 'specialized services,' providing they still treat the 'open' internet equally. Many had seen the exception as allowing providers to offer an internet fast lane to paying sites ... A different exception is aimed at situations where the limitation is not speed, but data usage. The EU's regulations allow 'zero rating,' a practice whereby certain sites or applications are not counted against data limits. That gives those sites a specific advantage when dealing with users with strict data caps such as those on mobile internet. Here's the full legislative text.
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EU Passes Net Neutrality Rules, Fails To Close Loopholes

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  • So, essentially, to make international calls cheaper for corporations (because frankly, what private citizen will need a lot of international calls, Europeans don't move routinely halfway across the continent other than US-Americans), we not only get more expensive basic cell coverage (because you don't expect telcos to foot the bill, do you?), we also get net neutrality trampled into the ground.

    I can't help but feel betrayed.

    • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
      Tourists in the EU get a better deal. The EU telcos get a better deal in their Asian, African and South American markets/former colonies.
      Better to keep the markets captive than than have nations explore other cheaper telco methods or build their own networks.
      The real local test will be p2p use and new expensive upload plans. Download is fine on the slow lanes, dare to upload and a new expensive plan is suggested and needed.
      The "zero rating" agreements will push users to a select list of walled social m
      • The upload bandwidth for a cellphone is small compared to download. It's a physical limitation, more spectrum is allocated the downstream link.

        • by AHuxley ( 892839 )
          Think about the long term issues with a traditional desktop telco plan or wifi user at home not just todays cellphone plans.
          Will an upload peer-to-peer networking protocol be looked at by many providers and be legally shaped over time?
          The users UDP and TCP use is an issue that only a new expensive plan can help with could become the new option for providers looking to profit in new ways.
    • by gl4ss ( 559668 )

      the possibility to give some services the facebook 'zero' treatment is actually a really fucking minor problem when you can buy unlimited internet for under 10 bucks that does not have a strict cap to count against(and if you can buy that sim from another country then yeehaw).

      • The problem is exactly that it will no longer be unlimited internet. What good is an infinite data plan if the speed gets throttled to a few bits per hour?

    • because frankly, what private citizen will need a lot of international calls

      This has come about, partly, because some people were incurring huge roaming charges without even going abroad.

      For example, in some parts of the south coast of England it's possible (sometimes even likely) that you'll get a much better mobile signal from France than from the UK.

      People had to have two sims - and remember to put the French one in when at home and the English one in when they went to town.

      Then, a mobile operator would

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I'm really looking forward to being able to use foreign SIMs in my home country without penalty. It should make the spy's jobs a little harder, having to go after foreign service providers to grab the data they expect to be handed by cooperative businesses in their own countries. I'm sure they will get it, but it's still just one extra step, a little extra cost for them.

        Also, some EU countries don't have such horrific data retention laws as the UK, so there's another bonus.

    • by Alioth ( 221270 )

      Many private citizens need them. Lots of people go on vacation to different European countries. Many people in the EU live close to a border. You don't have to go halfway across the continent to be stung with extortionate roaming charges (often from the same company your contract is with - e.g. O2 Ireland charging O2 UK people huge roaming charges because they went 2 miles over the border).

      Basic cell coverage will remain inexpensive due to competition, which will actually increase. Live in France and don't

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      "because frankly, what private citizen will need a lot of international calls, Europeans don't move routinely halfway across the continent other than US-Americans"

      Speak for yourself. My wife goes to Brussels for work fairly frequently, but doesn't have a work phone (she doesn't really need one, or want one) so it's nice that she can still phone home or text home without any additional cost when this comes into effect.

      Similarly we have a wedding in France next year, and we regularly go on weekend trips to th

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @08:41PM (#50814331)

    Who cares if you offer a much faster speed for more money as long as everything else is on the same footing?

    What people REALLY worry about are some services being *slowed*. Mind you, net neutrality doesn't address that really - but that's actually what people want when they claim they want Net Neutrally. The extra rules will herm no-one and allow for extra services people will enjoy.

    • It seems to lack imagination.

      I foresee internet speeds growing slowly reducing the new normal until there is a "for pay" fast lane.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        I think net neutrality would mean that if you give special priority to voice, or to slow video down, it needs to be equal among all VOIP or video sites, not just ones that are paying or not paying.

        I don't think the legislation addressed that. (American in US.)

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Services that pony up for the fast lane lead create a market that encourages the ISP to stop improving the slower/regular lane so then everyone has to pony up for the fast lane.

    • Sort of like airlines. Who cares if first class is more money as long as everyone else is on the same footing?

      What people really worry about is coach class being *downgraded* so it is cramped and miserable. Surely this two-tier structure harms no one and produces extra services people enjoy.

      (That analogy may be a stretch, but it is interesting food for thought.)

      • by tao ( 10867 )

        Coach class being downgraded is a far too sad reality these days though. A lot of airlines are introducing "light" versions of their coach class -- with even less service than normal, but instead of dropping the prices for that category, they position it where coach used to be and market the old coach as plus, extra or similar.

        Then again, they're still a lot better than scum such as Ryanair...

    • "Who cares"

      People who recognize that speeding up A is the equivalent to slowing down not A care.

      • Except that's not at all true. Without speeding up any one thing, people will want a certain level of service for everything.

        Your problem is you have zero understand of people, the market, and the internet.

  • by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Tuesday October 27, 2015 @08:41PM (#50814337)
    I have been running this regex on the whole internet since it's inception and it has never matched anything
    ".* passes .* rules, succeeds in closing all loopholes"
  • by Anonymous Coward

    In the EU at least one country already had net neutrality: The Netherlands. It was adopted in a few weeks after all major mobile providers decided to ask money based on what service you use instead of data or bandwidth.

    The thing is, this legislation overrides ours. Which means we will actually lose net neutrality.

    Really bad, because the current law had no loopholes. And no problems, you still get great speeds for very little money, and everyone who wants to create a new service has a guarantee the providers

    • This is what I don't get: if these EU-wide laws are supposed to be a step forward, why not just have them be minimum standards? Then each country can still be more strict about its net neutrality and no single country will be less neutral than the minimum standard.

      Might that suggest that there's a very different reason for these laws to begin with?
      • by Anonymous Coward

        The EU regulations are minimum standards. What Net Neutrality proponents wanted was to force a high minimum on everyone, which is tough when there's 20+ countries involved.

        You'd have to read the actual text to see, but I doubt it conflicts with any current laws in the Netherlands.

        BTW, this doesn't override the Dutch legislation. If there's a conflict all the EU can do is jump up and down and complain and threaten with fines. The EU has no police force to enforce anything on the ground.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The EU directives are NOT your law. The directives are to be implemented by your lawmakers into law.

      Given you already have just such a law, even going further, your current law is already in agreement with the EU directive and your law will not have to change.

      What WILL have to change is the law of your neighbours, which will make your countrymen living on their border better protected against scamming unexpected bills.

  • nice for article
  • Internet regulation is only needed when there's a monopoly. Otherwise we can rely on competition to provide a service that people want. Each European country has its own telecoms system, which may or may not hold a monopoly. No company or cartel has control over Europe though.

    Some countries might. But there's the thing; just because Europe didn't pass the full regulations, doesn't mean the individual member states can't.
    • However, wired internet service is a natural monopoly, since running the "last mile" cable or fiber is expensive. If the country has a public backbone that ISPs can rent bandwidth on, it will have competition among the ISPs.

    • by Xest ( 935314 )

      "Internet regulation is only needed when there's a monopoly."

      Nonsense, companies are equally capable of acting in concert with each other to price fix. The big 6 energy companies in the UK are a prime example of this.

      Competition isn't much use if businesses just work together to agree not to compete on certain things because they know there's more profit for all of them in them acting as a cartel, than there is in competing with each other.

The intelligence of any discussion diminishes with the square of the number of participants. -- Adam Walinsky