Netherlands Net Neutrality
June 6, 2011, 2:34 a.m.
Last month, I published an Insight about KPN 's plans to introduce additional charges for services such as web browsing, mobile VoIP, IM and video. Dutch consumers were incensed by KPN's proposal.
Good news for consumers. As a result of the public reaction to KPN's plans, the Dutch parliament has asked the government to amend the Telecommunicatiewet (Telecommunications Act) to ensure net neutrality. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation is working on the amendments now, and the Minister told parliament on May 24th that he will present the proposed changes within a few weeks. Service providers will not be allowed to block or charge extra for specific Internet services.
KPN has not yet responded to this latest development. Presumably the company will wait to see the wording of the proposed changes before they introduce any new pricing plans. They may need to find other ways toaddress the continuing slide in ARPU.
It will be interesting to see if other European countries follow suit. Neelie Kroes , Vice President of the European Commission for the Digital Agenda (and formerly Minister for Transport, Public Works and Telecommunication in the Netherlands), has said that she will " take the measures necessary" if service providers block services or charge for services unfairly, but in practice the European Commission generally leaves these things to the individual countries to legislate and enforce.
On June 22nd, the Netherlands "became the first country in Europe, and only the second in the world, to enshrine the concept of network neutrality into national law by banning its mobile telephone operators from blocking or charging consumers extra for using Internet-based communications services like Skype or WhatsApp, a free text service."