This is an example of web democracy in action. I mailed my MEPs yesterday about Net Neutrality and here’s a detailed useful reply. It’s clear my representatives understand my concerns. This is what an Open Neutral Web allows.
Dear Mr Murray-Rust,
Thank you for emailing Andrew regarding the legislative proposal on the Telecoms Single Market and its net neutrality provisions in particular.
It is important to stress that the new legislative proposal covers a wide range of issues. It seeks to abolish roaming charges and improve rights for both users and service providers, as well as strengthening net neutrality in order to achieve a truly open internet for all.
Andrew has been in close contact with his colleagues Fiona Hall MEP and Jens Rohde MEP, who is leading on this issue for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE), the political group that Lib Dem MEPs belong to in the European Parliament. Mr. Rohde is aware of concerns about a two-tiered internet and discriminatory agreements between access providers and content providers. Mr Rohde and Andrew are strong supporters of an open internet and are determined to make sure this openness is maintained.
Andrew also met recently with a net neutrality campaigner and tech professional in Cambridge to discuss some of the subtler aspects of the package and agrees with their view that the draft report to the ITRE committee must be strengthened.
Work is ongoing on a number of points but it is already clear that the final text will include a robust definition of net neutrality and will have strong language on disallowing any blocking or throttling by internet services providers, as well as ruling out any discrimination against online content or applications. The Parliament’s text will also stipulate that “specialised services” can only be provided when there is network capacity to do so and when such services are not to the detriment of general internet access. These safeguards are essential to ensure an open internet across Europe.
The ALDE group has been working on compromise amendments to strengthen these passages in the legislation and these efforts will continue into the final plenary session in Strasbourg later this year.
For your information you may wish to consult the following links:
The procedure file: http://www.europarl.europa.eu/oeil/popups/ficheprocedure.do?lang=en&reference=2013/0309(COD)
The main criticisms: http://www.edri.org/files/11092013-FAQ-NN-regulation.pdf
A response from the Commission: http://ecspokesryan.tumblr.com/post/61028697639/edris-faqs-on-net-neutrality-a-rebuttal
I should emphasise that we are not taking all of the Commission’s points at face value but investigating and challenging them. When the Commission has got it wrong in the past, which is not unprecedented – particularly with regard to legislation that pertains to the internet – the Liberal group has not hesitated to vote to reject the report in its entirety. For example, we saw to it that the ACTA package was junked.
In conclusion, Andrew will be strongly supporting the principles of an open internet and net neutrality and will seek to ensure that specific amendments to the final report are passed that achieve these aims.
Thank you again for contacting Andrew about this matter. I hope this reply is of some help.
Liberal Democrat MEP for the East of England