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April 3, 2014

EU Votes to End Roaming Charges, Enforce Net Neutrality

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Roaming fees will soon be a thing of the past for European mobile phone users.

The European Parliament has voted to bring an end to the charges by the end of 2015 — a move that will be particularly popular with those who travel.

“This vote is the EU delivering for citizens. This is what the EU is all about – getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive,” European Commission vice-president Neelie Kroes said in a statement.

“Nearly all of us depend on mobile and Internet connections as part of our daily lives. We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped-off, and we should have the opportunity to change our mind. Companies should have the chance to serve all of us, and this regulation makes it easier for them to do that. It’s win-win.”

The parliament also plans to enforce Net Neutrality by restricting the ability of telecoms operators to give content providers quicker network access for a price. The move is a bid to prevent Internet providers from promoting some services at the expense of others. For example, this would prevent providers from blocking or slowing down services like Skype.

“Internet access providers would still be able to offer specialized services of higher quality, such as video on demand and business-critical data-intensive cloud (data storage) applications, so long as these services are not supplied to the detriment of the availability or quality of internet access services offered to other companies or service suppliers,” the EU said in a press release.

Internet providers can only block or slow down the Internet “to enforce a court order, preserve network security or prevent temporary network congestion,” the EU said. And, if such “traffic management measures are used, they must be transparent, non-discriminatory and proportionate and not be maintained longer than necessary.”

Countries in Europe must still review and agree to the new regulations — but opposition is not expected and approvals should be finalized by the end of the year.


Jennifer Cowan is the Managing Editor for SiteProNews.