European Union governments are considering less stringent rules on how internet service providers manage traffic on their networks, according to a draft seen by Reuters, a move that could be welcomed by Europe’s large telecoms operators.
These so-called net neutrality rules are part of the European Commission’s proposed overhaul of Europe’s telecoms industry to help it to compete against rivals the United States and Asia.
Net neutrality is the principle that all content providers should have equal access on networks (see background). It has become a hot topic in the United States where President Barack Obama has said internet service providers should be banned from striking paid “fast lane” deals with content companies.
EU lawmakers voted in April for strict net neutrality rules that barred telecoms operators like Orange and Telefonica from prioritising some internet traffic over others.