Regulatory Approaches to Net Neutrality in Europe and Beyond by Angela Daly [European University Institute – Department of Law (LAW)]

Abstract: Net neutrality, the principle of non-discrimination by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) between different kinds of Internet traffic and non-restriction of legal content, sites and platforms, has become increasingly prominent in telecommunications policy agendas in various countries. The debate on net neutrality has been provoked by concrete instances of ISPs prioritising certain types of information, and blocking access to other types. Regulatory bodies have responded to this issue in different ways and at different points in time.This paper will set out what these regulatory responses have been to date, with particular regard to the European context. Net neutrality has been approached at a domestic as well as European level so far, with inter alia Norway already issuing Guidelines on Net Neutrality, France currently running a public consultation on it, and the European Commission expected also to do so in the next few months. These measures will be analysed, with a comparison made to approaches to net neutrality in other parts of the world, such as the USA, where a fierce debate has been raging, and Chile, which has already adopted rules to govern the issue. The extent to which these measures accord with the promotion of competition (for the economic welfare of consumers), and protect and enhance Internet users’ rights (especially free expression, right to information, and privacy) will be assessed. In addition, an examination will be made as to whether a consensus, either at the European or global level, on net neutrality is being established by these regulatory actions. Suggestions for any appropriate future action on net neutrality will conclude the paper.

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