Here in the States, any attempt to impose meaningful net neutrality rules for consumers effectively died back in 2010
in a puff of partisan bickering and disinformation. Even the feeble rules the FCC did muster the stomach to pass are facing obliteration by lawsuit courtesy of Verizon
. It's now Europe's turn to try and stand up to incumbent operators, with European Commission (EC) VP Neelie Kroes claiming this week she'll pass new rules that would not only eliminate roaming fees in the EU, but encode net neutrality into EU consumer protections, permanently.
While Europe has more than their fare share of problems right now, Kroes can already be thanked by European consumers for passing regulations that at least reduced roaming costs dramatically. From a speech given this week
at the European Parliament, Kroes insisted that she now plans to encode network neutrality into law across the entire European Union:
You and I share the stake in this debate, so tell me: will you join me in building something special between now and the European elections? I want us to show citizens that the EU is relevant to their lives. That we made the digital rules catch up with their legitimate expectations. "I want you to be able to go back to your constituents and say that you were able to end mobile roaming costs. I want you to be able to say that you saved their right to access the open internet, by guaranteeing net neutrality. I want you to be able to say we took real action on cybercrime and other threats."
Granted what one politician says and what actually happens is a chasm not easily or often bridged. Still, we'll watch in great interest here in the States as we wait for AT&T to stop blocking video applications
(to drive users to costlier plans) and for Verizon to stop blocking Google Wallet
(to give their own mobile payment platform a leg up). Perhaps EU regulators have the courage and integrity our regulators lack.