Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake (ALDE/D66) is concerned about the outcome of today’s vote on the Single Telecoms Market. Schaake: “The proposal voted on today lacks the necessary guarantees for net neutrality in order to protect consumers against abuse of power by internet service providers. Without these guarantees, competition and innovation in the digital single market can come under threat. Enshrining the principle of net neutrality has now been traded off against abolishing roaming costs. D66 welcomes that achievement, but does not want the open internet to be sacrificed in return.”
In 2012 The Netherlands enshrined net neutrality in law on the initiative of the social-liber D66 party. For Dutch companies a level playing-field is important; being the frontrunner has its disadvantages as long as not all European companies have to abide by the same rules. “Without legal guarantees for net neutrality internet service providers were able to throttle competitors. And existing online services can make deals to offer faster services at a higher price. This could push players without deep pockets, such as start-ups, hospitals or universities, out of the market. Today’s vote risks allowing just that”, says Schaake.
In the past the European Parliament has repeatedly expressed its support for stronger guarantees for net neutrality in Europe. Schaake continues to work to improve the proposal ahead of the European Parliament’s plenary vote in April. “The whole package has been rushed through by Parliament because abolishing roaming costs is a nice message to campaign on. Of course that is an important step towards completing the digital single market. But some politicians are blinded by this short term win and lose sight of the long-term importance of an open internet.
The plenary vote on the proposal for a European single telecoms market will take place on April 3rd.