[A2k] Net Neutrality: Major Setback for Free and Open Internet

La Quadrature du Net contact at laquadrature.net
Tue Oct 27 06:30:19 PDT 2015


La Quadrature du Net – For immediate release

Permanent link: https://www.laquadrature.net/en/Net-Neutrality-Major-Setback-for-Internet

Net Neutrality: Major Setback for Free and Open Internet

*** Strasbourg, 27 October 2015 — Today, the European Parliament voted the Telecommunication 
Single Market regulation text by 500 votes against 163, hereby ending the negotiations on this 
matter. Despite numerous citizen's calls, despite repeated international calls to support the 
amendments, including Tim Berners-Lee's, this ambiguous text leaves important loopholes and 
cannot ensure Net Neutrality [1]. Worst, it allows commercial discrimination. It is a profound 
disillusion for all those who, throughout the years, battled to ensure Net Neutrality in 

Before 2014's European elections, MEPs were firm and voted a very positive text to protect Net 
Neutrality, citizens' rights and innovation for all. The Council of the EU (that is to say the 
heads of Member States) and the Commission's strain, the urge to finish all those years of 
negotiations and the lack of convictions and sense of common interest lead to choose a spineless 
consensus: to reach an agreement at all costs and to settle the issue of roaming (a symbolic 
measure, but only affecting a small portion of EU citizens).

A handful of MEPs have had the courage to defend till the end their positions on Net Neutrality, 
and we greet them. The others gave in to fatigue and this must be remembered.

The adopted text doesn't include a clear definition of Net Neutrality, leaving non-marginal room 
for manoeuvre to the European regulator to establish guidelines applicable in Member States. It 
is thus a text full of uncertainties that will be applied and whose practical modalities will 
only be established in technical negotiations done behind closed doors, without transparency and 
with little recourses for citizens.

Negotiations within the BEREC [2] must be transparent. Regulators must, without further delay, 
elaborate clear rules strongly upholding Net Neutrality principles. Regulators must also take the 
necessary steps to rigorously apply these principles, in order to reduce the weaknesses of the 
text voted today. The risk that they leave an open wide way allowing telcos to abuse their 
dominant position is high.

_**"Today MEPs had the chance to stand their ground against the Council and the Commission but 
they only showed a timid face in front of the threats to abandon the text or prolongation of the 
negotiations. By voting this incomplete and non-protective text, they sell off citizens' rights 
and liberties and they also hamper small and innovative companies, in favour of big 
telecommunication companies. They also give a bad signal on their weakness, thus endangering all 
future negotiations. The task to mend the text's loopholes left by the MEPs now rests on 
governments deprived of transparency, at the risk of widening them even more, until Justice 
intervenes and long lasting judiciary procedures set out an uncertain precedence."**_ said Agnès 
de Cornulier, Legal and Policy Analysis Coordinator at La Quadrature Du Net.

Once again, La Quadrature du Net wholeheartedly thanks and greets the numerous citizens, 
organisations and elected representatives that took part to this campaign.

* References: *

  * 1. Net Neutrality is a cornerstone principle of the Internet which guarantees that telecoms 
operators remain mere transmitters of information and do not discriminate between their users' 
communications. It ensures that all users, whatever their resources, can access the same network 
in its entirety.
  * 2. The BEREC is the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications

** About La Quadrature du Net **

La Quadrature du Net is an advocacy group that defends the rights and freedoms of citizens on the 
Internet. More specifically, it advocates for the adaptation of French and European legislations 
to respect the founding principles of the Internet, most notably the free circulation of 

In addition to its advocacy work, the group also aims to foster a better understanding of 
legislative processes among citizens. Through specific and pertinent information and tools, La 
Quadrature du Net hopes to encourage citizens' participation in the public debate on rights and 
freedoms in the digital age.

La Quadrature du Net is supported by French, European and international NGOs including the 
Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Open Society Institute and Privacy International.

List of supporting organisations: 

** Press contact and press room **

contact at laquadrature.net, +33 (0)972 294 426


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