EU Commission clears ISPs in "Net Neutrality" anti-trust probe

Net neutrality has become one of the biggest and most important topics in the telecoms industry as it could change the shape of the internet as we know it. An anti-trust probe was launched by the European Commission into whether quality-dependant OTT players such as Netflix were being "slowed down" in favour of the ISPs own services.

The inspections were launched to investigate whether the ISPs were taking advantage of their market position to control and cause an unfair playing-field on the internet; destroying the values which has helped it to grow and become so important to the global economy.

In an announcement made by the Commission today, it stated: “the Commission found no evidence of behaviour aimed at foreclosing transit services from the market or at providing an unfair advantage to the telecoms operators’ own proprietary content services”.

OTT players are the ones driving digital demand, demand for your services! That is something you can work with, not against.

Proposals to the FCC in the US from ISPs call for the regulator to allow the creation of "fast lanes" for big OTT players whose users generate a lot of bandwidth. This has caused fierce backlash, with the deadline for comments against the proposals having to be pushed-back several times from the sheer amount which had been submitted.

Last month, we reported that The Sunlight Foundation analysed over 800,000 of these comments and found that 99% of them are in support of stronger protection for net neutrality. Meanwhile, a petition from Google with the rallying call of “A free and open world depends on a free and open web” has been signed by over three million people.

Neelie Kroes, departing Vice President of the European Commission, spoke about OTT players and their relationship with telcos in her farewell speech: "The current situation of European telcos is not the ‘fault’ of those OTT’s. Today, all EU homes have broadband coverage; 76% have a connection; almost half can access it on their mobile,” she said. “They are demanding greater and greater bandwidth, faster and faster speeds, and are prepared to pay for it."

She continues: "But how many of them would do that if there were no over the top services? If there were no Facebook, no YouTube, no Netflix, no Spotify? OTT players are the ones driving digital demand, demand for your services! That is something you can work with, not against.”

The memo, which detailed the launch of the investigation back in July, stated the companies who are being investigated would not be made public at such an early-stage. Due to being cleared of the investigation, none of the telcos will be named to prevent damages to their reputation.

Should telcos be allowed to create "fast lanes" for OTT services? Let us know in the comments.

(Image Credit: Me2)

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