E.U. to Review Mobile Operators’ Policies on Web Access

April 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm | Posted in Telecommunications | Leave a comment

by Sara M. Langston with the blog faculty

Source: NY Times

BERLIN — The European Commission is planning to investigate whether European mobile operators are managing wireless Internet traffic to discriminate against competitors or consumers who use data-intensive services.

Neelie Kroes, the European Union’s telecommunications commissioner, on Tuesday will ask an advisory panel of national regulators to examine whether mobile operators are upholding the principle of network neutrality, which calls for all data traffic to be treated equally.

The review will ask regulators from E.U. member states to examine whether a European telecommunications law that takes effect on May 25 is sufficient to ensure an open Internet. The law requires operators to disclose traffic management practices to consumers, gives consumers the right to switch operators in a single day and gives national regulators the power to set minimum levels of service for mobile Internet operators.

Lawmakers in Europe, unlike those in the United States, have taken a relatively hands-off approach to network neutrality, allowing the Continent’s mobile operators, which are typically former national monopolies, to manage and prioritize data to ensure smooth flowing traffic.

In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission last year adopted network neutrality rules that forbid operators to block content on their networks. But the commission’s legal authority has been questioned, and the U.S. House of Representatives voted on April 8 to restrict the F.C.C.’s ability to manage operator practices. [Full story]

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