There are no clear rules on net neutrality today at EU level, leaving 96% of Europeans without legal protection for their right to access the full open internet. In Europe, both electronic communications providers and end-users face inconsistent rules, leading to uneven levels of protection and a variety of diverging rules in different Member States. This fragmentation is costly for operators, unsatisfactory for end-users hinders the provision of services across borders and negatively impacts end-users' willingness to consume them.
In Spring 2013, the European Council requested the Commission to make a proposal for achieving a single market in telecoms. On 11 September 2013 (calendar), we adopted a legislative package for a "Connected Continent: Building a Telecoms Single Market" aimed at building a connected, competitive continent and enabling sustainable digital jobs and industries. The measures aim at establishing EU-wide rules on transparency, switching and traffic management. Key changes will include a guarantee of "net neutrality."
In April 2011, the Commission asked the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) to undertake a fact-finding exercise on issues crucial to ensuring an open and neutral Internet, including barriers to changing operators, blocking or throttling of Internet traffic, transparency and quality of service.
As a result, BEREC published in May 2012 the results of its traffic management investigation, which covered more than 400 fixed and mobile ISPs and gives a very good overview of traffic management practices in Europe. BEREC's results show that there is an undeniable problem regarding open Internet in Europe and now is the moment to take action.
BEREC had also previously published a report on best practices to facilitate switching in October 2010 as well as a framework for quality of service in December 2011. At the same time, BEREC adopted guidelines on transparency by identifying best practices and recommended approaches.
In December 2012, BEREC published its guidelines on quality of service as well as reports on differentiation practices and related competition issues, and IP Interconnection.