European Parliament Votes to End Roaming Charges, Adopts ‘Net Neutrality’
The European Parliament voted on Thursday in favor of abolishing mobile phone roaming fees and barring Internet service providers from charging data-hungry services for faster network access, according to a BBC report. The roaming fees are expected to phase out by December 2015.
The proposed law also prohibits telecoms and ISPs from ditching popular services like Skype, Whatsapp, and more, in favor of their own offerings.
“Today’s vote creates safeguards to ensure that players without deep pockets, such as start-ups, hospitals or universities, cannot be pushed out of the market as a result of deals between Internet service providers and content providers to offer faster services at a higher price,” said Dutch Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake.
The law favors net neutrality wherein all internet traffic is treated equally regardless of its source. In the current scenario, there is always a possibility of ISPs threatening to slow down traffic from data hungry services unless the companies behind them pay a fee. For example, in the US, Netflix is paying Comcast to ensure its content streams smoothly to Comcast customers.