EU Passes Strict Net Neutrality Laws
Seth Fitzgerald | On 03, Apr 2014
Following a January 2014 ruling that essentially killed off net neutrality in the United States, companies like Netflix have already had to pay internet service providers (ISPs) extra to make sure that access to content is not limited. This practice would never be legal in the EU now that Parliament has agreed to a new set of laws that will enforce net neutrality in its 28 member nations.
The laws require that ISPs treat all traffic equally so that it does not matter if data is coming from Netflix, YouTube, or a non-name content provider. This means that as long as European ISPs do not try to skirt around the new laws, consumers will always receive the data transfer speeds that they are paying for.
[Traffic is treated] without discrimination, restriction or interference, independent of the sender, receiver, type, content, device, service or application. - EU
Within the realm of the EU, the only way that an ISP can slow down traffic is when there is congestion and even then, it cannot target specific traffic sources.
This is in stark contrast to the current situation in the United States, considering that there is no way a service like Netflix would be paying off ISPs in the EU. Consumers have overwhelming supported net neutrality even though American ISPs have tried to say that it would hurt the industry and keeping prices high.
Simply being popular is grounds for an ISP to limit connection speeds to your service in the United States. Unfortunately, all this does is anger consumers and result in a bad experience for them. In the case of Netflix, subscribers that were paying for a fast connection were barely able to load videos because of where the content was coming from. This has been pointed out by Netflix and demonstrated by others who have attained better connections by using a VPN.
Question – Should the US follow the EU’s lead and implement strong net neutrality laws?
Summary: The EU Parliament has agreed upon strict net neutrality laws. ISPs in its 28 member countries must treat all traffic equally, regardless of where it is coming from.
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