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La Quadrature du Net: Net Neutrality: Trialogue betrayed European Parliament’s vote

June 2015 by La Quadrature du Net

After months of negotiations behind closed doors between the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the European Parliament (trialogue), the very positive text on Net Neutrality adopted by the European Parliament in April 2014 [1] has become more ambiguous and weaker. Net Neutrality deserves more guarantees and La Quadrature du Net is regretting a third-rate agreement.

Last night at 2 am, the trialogue’s negotiators on the Telecom single market Regulation have found an agreement. The text adopted by the three institutions, which has to define the guarantees on Net neutrality, as well as/and the specialised services offered by operators, is disappointing and very little safe for users. Indeed, the definition of Net neutrality has disappeared, even if the text begins by recalling the necessity of an open and non discriminatory Internet and an equal process of all Internet traffic. So why Net Neutrality cannot be clearly enshrined?

Likewise, provisions on specialised services are very blurred and equivocal and may be used by operators and large online services to circumvent Net Neutrality and harm consumers’ freedom of choice as well as competition and innovation.

An important place is given to national regulatory authorities which may arise doubts on very numerous interpretations regarding each country. Citizens must put pressure on the European and national authorities to ensure that those blurred principles can, in their implementation, contribute to fight against the increasing oligopolisation of the Internet benefiting to large operators and American platforms.

After months of campaign and citizens’ participation on this complex matter, La Quadrature du Net is regretting that the trialogue has reached a weak and unclear text. The version coming from the European Parliament in April 2014 was balanced and precise. The mad lobbying carried by telecommunication operators will have, once again, overcome general interest. Political representatives, within national governments and in the European Parliament, are carrying this responsibility. At a time where the European Union is preparing its digital strategy, this third-rate agreement badly suggests the ability of public decision-makers to listen to citizen expertise and to resist big companies who wants to get their hands on the Internet.

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