European Parliament votes on roaming charges, net neutrality
European Parliament votes on roaming charges, net neutrality

The European Parliament [official website] on Tuesday voted [press release] to adopt an agreement reached in June to end roaming charges by 2017 and to set net neutrality rules in the EU for the first time. Four proposed amendments, which supporters argued would have closed loopholes in existing net neutrality regulations, were voted down. The amendments had been openly supported by Internet companies such as Netflix, Reddit and Soundcloud. According to supporters, existing provisions for net neutrality protection are too vague [BBC report], potentially making it easier for firms to make deals with content providers that could not be advantageous to others. Commission Vice-President Andrus Ansip called the vote “the final result of intense efforts to end roaming charges in the European Union and to safeguard the open internet.”

Net neutrality [JURIST backgrounder] has emerged as a major political and legal issue in the US and internationally. In April US Congressman Doug Collins introduced a resolution to block [JURIST report] net neutrality rules that were introduced by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In November US President Barack Obama said [statement] that he strongly supports the concept of net neutrality. Last year the FCC adopted [JURIST report] new Internet traffic rules in light of a recent court decision that struck down former rules requiring broadband providers to employ nondiscriminatory practices in the treatment of Internet content. In April of 2014 the European Parliament approved [JURIST report] a net neutrality proposal that prohibits Internet service providers from enhancing or restricting services for selected Internet traffic.