Net neutrality exists when Internet service providers (ISPs) must allow equal access to everything on the Web, rather than favoring some sites over others. It’s a bedrock condition for Internet freedom, but ISPs generally oppose it because it prevents them from charging companies extra for privileged access to the network — making a video from one Web site load faster than video on other sites, for example.
Free software activists and allies are fighting for net neutrality rules country by country, and we’ve had important victories in the US and India during the last year and a half.
Now Europeans are fighting for the same rights. The Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications (BEREC) has followed the US and India by releasing draft net neutrality protections that would cover all countries in the EU. But they’ve left huge holes allowing some instances of neutrality-violating known as zero-rating (allowing access to certain sites or applications without affecting a customer’s allotted data usage) and traffic throttling (intentionally slowing Internet service). Thankfully, we have a chance to fix this: BEREC has asked the public, along with industry leaders and entrepreneurs, to give feedback on its draft rules.
BEREC accepts comments from everyone, not just Europeans. Even if you don’t live in Europe, it’s important for the global free software community to take action in solidarity with Europeans; winning net neutrality there will set an important precedent.
Submitted by: Arnfried Walbrecht