European Commission’s digital chief and vice president Neelie Kroes has put forward plans to mandate net neutrality in a bid to prevent and deter anti-competitive blocking of rival services by ISPs as it is believed that somewhere around 100 million Europeans are subjected to restrictions on the web because ISPs are reluctant in providing access to services that are in direct competition to services they offer.
Kroes revealed that services like Skype and Whatsapp are being blocked outright or are being degraded deliberately by ISPs “simply to avoid the competition”. According to Kroes net neutrality, which is currently only guaranteed in Netherlands and Slovenia, will be mandated as a standard across Europe.
Noting that ISPS do have the right to control what flows through their network to protect consumers from spam and avoiding traffic congestion, Kroes said this was “something which has made a real positive difference, which I’d say most users find helpful, and are happy with”.
Having said that, Kroes notes that there has to be more transparency when it comes to consumer broadband contracts and that people should be completely aware and should be in a position to understand what they are really buying.
“We all deserve a clear promise before signing up — not a nasty surprise after. After all, when you buy a carton of milk, you don’t expect it to be half-empty: the same goes for 50Mbps internet”, she notes.