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European Commission publishes study on the implementation of Net Neutrality rules

The study confirms the Regulation’s significant contribution to a more consistent approach.

Background: Net Neutrality rules in the EU are enshrined in a Regulation of 2015, and have been in force since 30 April 2016. This week, the European Commission has published a study (and a report to complement it), on the way in which the Regulation has been adopted.

The findings: The study found that the Regulation, in combination with the guidelines issued by BEREC for its application, has significantly contributed to a more harmonised approach to net neutrality rules within the EU and Norway. Stakeholders appreciate the benefits of the Regulation and the harmonised framework that it has created. The Regulation is generally considered to be effectively balanced and future-proof. No stakeholder has indicated that the Regulation should be abolished or significantly amended. The EC’s report published alongside the study suggests that there is no need to amend the Regulation at this stage, in order to continue with the regulatory stability and in view of continuing protecting end-users’ rights and promoting open access to the internet. In particular, the Commission notes there is no concrete example that the rules hinder implementation of network slicing, and in turn become an obstacle to 5G development.

Next steps: While the Regulation is likely to remain unchanged, BEREC will review the guidelines for its implementation by Q1 2020. It aims to share a first draft of the revised guidelines later this year, following a consultation with stakeholders to take place in Q3 2019.