Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 was adopted on 25th November 2015 and enshrines binding net neutrality rules into EU law. It creates an individual right of end users to access or distribute internet content and services of their choice. It also establishes for the first time in the EU the principle of non-discriminatory traffic management. The Regulation entered into force on 29th November 2015 and started applying on 30th April 2016.
On 30th August 2016 BEREC adopted guidelines for the implementation of the obligations of national regulatory authorities to contribute to the consistent application of the net neutrality rules, in accordance with Article 5.3 of the Regulation.
Article 9 of the Regulation establishes that by 30 April 2019, and every four years thereafter, the Commission shall review Articles 3, 4, 5 and 6 and shall submit a report to the European Parliament and to the Council thereon, accompanied, if necessary, by appropriate proposals with a view to amending the Regulation.
In order to prepare the above review report, it is necessary to commission a study that should collect factual information about the actual implementation of the net neutrality provisions of the Regulation by national regulatory authorities across EU Member States and provide an assessment of this implementation, looking in particular at the most significant regulatory issues and the way in which the National Regulatory Authorities have implemented their supervision and enforcement tasks.
The study should assess all the elements of the Regulation, paying special attention to the most sensitive issues raised during the preparation of the Regulation and the guidelines, including:
• the protection of the right of end-users to access and distribute information and content, use and provide applications and services, and use terminal equipment of their choice, irrespective of the end-user’s or provider’s location or the location, origin or destination of the information, content, application or service, via their internet access service;
• the regulatory treatment of commercial practices, in particular of zero-rating;
• the assessment by NRAs of traffic management practices, paying special attention to reasonable traffic management and the three specific exceptions which the Regulation allows for exceptional traffic management;
• the assessment of specialised services and their interaction with the internet access service;
• the implementation by NRAs of the transparency requirements included in the Regulation;
• the interaction of the European rules with existing national laws on net neutrality where relevant.