Steelie Neelie secures MEPs' support for 'net neutrality' – in principle

Politicos also vote to kill mobile roaming fees by end of 2015


Members of the European Parliament jockeying for re-election voted for a wave of telecom regulatory measures proposed by Brussels' unelected digital czar today – including the proposal that mobile roaming charges should be axed by the end of next year.

The politicos backed "Steelie" Neelie Kroes' reform package ahead of tense negotiations with member states in the 28-nation bloc.

But the concept of "net neutrality", which, in principle, won overwhelming support from MEPs today - in effect - remains exactly that. As it stands, only two countries within the EU have adopted law that states that all traffic on the internet should be treated equally, even if the content – such as video-streaming – clogs up a telco's aged network pipes.

Now, fierce lobbying between Euro parliament and the European Council, which fights on behalf of EU member states, will take place in the backdrop of election season.

"Today's vote is a great step towards strengthening the telecommunications single market. Parliament wants to abolish retail roaming charges for voice, SMS and data by 15 December 2015 and improve radio spectrum management to develop 4G and 5G throughout Europe," said Spanish MEP Pilar del Castillo Vera.

"We have achieved further guarantees to maintain the openness of the internet by ensuring that users can run and provide applications and services of their choice as well as reinforcing the internet as a key driver of competitiveness, economic growth, jobs, social development and innovation,” she added.

The draft reform package won 534 votes from parliamentarians who convened in Brussels today. Only 25 politicos opposed the measures, while 58 abstained from the process. ®

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