The Devil is in the detail they say, and his was also part of the reaction we got when we proposed the Telecom Single Market Regulation in 2013. It includes for the very first time the principle of net neutrality in EU law and rules out any blocking or throttling or discrimination of online content, applications and services. But for very good reasons, namely to cover also future technologies, it is not a very detailed descriptive legislation.
Today, those who advocated for more detail, get it. BEREC, the EU body regrouping all 28 national telecom regulators, has issued its guidelines. These guidelines will serve as a reference for every national regulator having to decide whether a company or a public service provider violates the net neutrality rules and whether to start proceedings against them.
In doing so, the guidelines will ensure a consistent application of the open internet rules across the EU. Because we want a single rule book for a single digital market. The guidelines send a strong signal to the market about BEREC's capacity to support and contribute to a consistent implementation of the Telecom Single Market Regulation which will also provide greater legal certainty. They also send a clear signal to citizens that they will continue to benefit from an open Internet. And that the Internet will remain a digital engine of innovation.
I am happy to see that the BEREC guidelines meet their objective and congratulate BEREC for the great job they have done. The guidelines operationalise Telecom Single Market Regulation. No more - but also no less than that. Along with the Telecom Single Market Regulation, the guidelines set the right framework under which any market operator can provide high-quality, competitive and innovative content and services. These include some future advanced applications e.g. connected cars, 5G applications, or the Internet of Things services, some of which can be provided via an internet access service, or as specialised services in order to ensure a specific level of quality. This enables innovation, either over the open Internet or in the form of specialised services.
I am aware that it has not been easy to agree on everything, and all parties involved have had to make some compromises. Bearing in mind the sometimes passionate debate on net neutrality, I welcome the explanatory document that BEREC has provided along with the Guidelines and thank BEREC for all the work done in such a short timeframe.
Let us be clear: ensuring an open Internet is a fundamental principle to promote and protect the Internet that we want. It is a means to achieve the right environment for the digital society and economy to flourish and to foster freedom of expression. Today, we made a further step in the right direction.This creates transparency on the related discussion and the different points of view.