• 03-APR-2014

  • SOURCE: S&D Group at European Parliament

MEPs Celebrate Victory on Net Neutrality and End of Roaming Charges

The Socialists and Democrats voted in favour of the Single Telecoms Market after they secured a clear defence of net neutrality, something that the right-wing EPP rapporteur was willing to give up on.

The S&D Group welcomes the fixing of a date for the end of all roaming costs – December 2015 – an objective that leading S&D MEPs have been fighting for for several years (see here).

The third key element included in the newly adopted legislation is the better management of radio frequencies for new mobile applications, aimed at boosting innovation.

S&D shadow rapporteur, MEP Catherine Trautmann said: 

"We are happy that the Liberals changed their minds in the end and joined progressive groups to defend net neutrality. We managed to introduce a precise definition of 'specialised services' so that they are not confused with 'internet access services', and a binding reference to the principle of net neutrality.

"The protection of net neutrality allowed us to support the overall Telecoms Single Market package, which is urgently necessary, both for consumers and for companies, because it will bring certainty to the sector and will allow for investments, growth and job creation.

"Though the regulation brings major improvements in terms of co-ordinating the radio spectrum, innovative uses of wireless broadband and protection of broadcasting, the Socialists and Democrats are committed to protecting privacy on the internet and couldn't accept trading the end of roaming costs for compromising net neutrality."We consider that the Internet is a public space where everyone can access any service or application of their choice without restriction or limitation."

S&D spokesperson on industry, MEP Teresa Riera, said: 

"It has been a long battle but we finally put an end to roaming charges. It doesn't make any sense to create artificial borders for telecommunications. We need to connect Europe to open the way for innovation and creativity.

"It is equally important to guarantee an open internet for all. We accept specialised services – ipTV and telemedicine are good examples – but they should not affect the speed or the quality of the average consumer's access."