Other Countries Hold Firm on Net Neutrality Rules Despite US Ruling
Ron Perillo / 9 months ago
With the US Federal Communications Commission overturning net neutrality protection rules recently, many consumers fear that it will cause a ripple effect. The fear is that there will be calls for deregulation in their countries as well from telecoms. However, many countries are holding firm and restating a commitment to net neutrality after the FCC ruling.
Net Neutrality in the European Union
The German Economics Ministry said on Friday that it would continue to support EU internet rules that forbid discriminatory access to the web. “An open and free internet is indispensable for the successful development of a digital society that everyone wants to take part in,” said spokeswoman, Beate Baron. The European Union has net neutrality rules in place since 2016. This ensures that 28 member states can’t give preferential treatment to the data of any particular company or to websites paying higher prices.
Net Neutrality in India
India’s Telecom Regulatory Authority also rules against discriminatory practices. They are not likely to be swayed by the FCC’s policies considering India has shown that they can stand firm against discrimination. When Facebook offered free internet access to the country through its Free Basics Platform, Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad denied their request. Prasad found out that Facebook’s “free” internet required traffic going through them and acted accordingly. After the recent FCC ruling, Prasad declares “Our stand from day one is very clear – right of non-discriminatory access to internet is not negotiable”.
Net Neutrality in Canada
Canada is holding firm on their open net neutrality ruling as well. Unlike the US’ FCC which is highly political, other regulatory boards in other countries are not. The FCC is comprised of five people: three from the ruling party, and two appointees from the opposition at all times. Canada’s CRTC has no partisan bias. Plus, there is no existing political motivation from any party to abolish existing net neutrality rules. Not that the telecoms are not trying.
Net Neutrality in the United Kingdom
Andrew Glover, chairman of UK ISP Assosciation council says that existing rules secure net neutrality in the UK. Unlike the US where more than 50M homes only has one choice for broadband, the UK has more options. It is in this competition that provides pressure on other companies to provide better service. “Ofcom, the UK telecoms regulator, recently assessed the compliance of UK ISPs with these rules” according to glover. They found “that there are no major concerns regarding the openness of the internet in the UK”.
Some experts however claim that the US ruling can still have a negative effect on the EU. European telecom operators are already exploiting loopholes and grey-areas in existing regulation, and the US ruling will embolden them further. When Netflix entered the EU market for example, some national telecom companies wanted them to pay tolls for content delivery. Netflix told regulators that this shows the importance of “the importance of strong net neutrality rules“. Moreover, EU laws allow mobile operators to offer paid-for passes for unlimited streaming of some music or video platforms. Critics argue that this is a sign that net neutrality is being eroded.