03
Fri, Dec
0 New Articles

EU Court of Justice tells European telecoms regulators to revise Net Neutrality

News

Reviews and revisions must be in place by September 30th - for public debriefing in October

Berec, the assembly of EU telecom regulators, announced it will review its guidelines for net neutrality following the recent ruling by the EU Court of Justice, reports Telecompaper.

National regulators of mobile operators across Europe will discuss the ruling at their next meeting 30 September and present their conclusions at a public debriefing in October. 

Berec is charged with implementing the EU's net neutrality regulation and has regularly issued guidelines to help national regulators enforce the measures. However, since Berec's last update of the guidelines in June 2020, the EU court has issued two rulings on zero-rated data offers, findings that are often incompatible with the regulation. 

The EU Court of Justice ruled that popular zero-rated data tariffs had violated the EU's net neutrality regulations as they discriminate over how different internet services are treated.

Mobile apps shouldn't discriminate

With Zero-rated plans customer can use certain mobile apps without the traffic counting towards their standard data allowance. This means some services benefit from unlimited data, without any extra charges for excess traffic. This is an option offered by Vodafone and DT on video, music and social media apps. The legality was challenged by the German regulator Bundesnetzagentur and German consumer group VZBW.

The EU court reasoned that the zero rating meant there are limitations on how customers could consume internet services. Vodafone does not allow zero-rated data for the apps when roaming in the rest of the EU or when tethering with another device, while DT restricts the speed of all video services for Stream On users, even those not covered by the zero rating.

Such limitations on bandwidth, tethering or roaming violate the EU's open internet regulation. A regulatory decision on zero-rating and net neutrality ended with Vodafone and DT being ordered to allow the offers to apply for EU roaming and end speed restrictions. In a decision in September 2020, the court found that offers distinguishing between different types of internet traffic for purely commercial reasons violated the open internet rules.