GSMA fires warning over Dutch net neutrality law

James Pearce
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Industry body claims amendment to Telecoms Act could conflict with EU regulations

The GSMA has warned that a revised Dutch law around Net Neutrality may conflict with European Union legislation.

The industry body claims the new law, which was adopted by the Dutch senate yesterday (11 October) will be incompatible with the EU Open Internet Regulation, which came in to force last November.

This, claims the GSMA, will but the development of the EU Digital Single Market project, a key cornerstone of European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker’s time in office, at risk. The law could also harm consumers, it adds, by stifling innovation and limiting the choice of services available to Dutch citizens.

The strict new law seeks to ensure that telcos and ISPs treat all internet traffic equally and cannot favour one internet app or service over another. Opponents, however, say the legislation, which was approved by the lower house of parliament in May this year, is overly severe.

Afke Schaart, VP of Europe at the GSMA, commented: “We are greatly disappointed with the outcome of today’s vote. We believe that the Dutch Net Neutrality Law goes far beyond the intent of the EU regulation. We therefore call on the European Commission to ensure the harmonised implementation of Europe’s Open Internet rules.”

T-Mobile has already warned that it may appeal against the amendment to the Telecommunications Act, which was originally passed in 2012. The new amendments introduce a complete ban on zero-rating, which varies on the view taken by the EU that zero-rating should be allowed in some limited circumstances.

T-Mobile claims that its service is in line with the guidelines from Berec and the EU regulation and noted that the latter is already in effect across the EU.