The Austria telecommunications regulatory authority (RTR) sent a request to Internet service providers (ISPs) to block 22 domains claimed to be involved in copyright infringement. T-Mobile feared the bans had the potential to violate net neutrality rules since the domains are not specifically listed in a court order and are considered ‘clone’ sites. Although the ISP has already implemented the blocking in the country, it has also written to regulators to check a potential net neutrality breach. Domain bans in the country are becoming frequent, which has raised net neutrality concerns.
The Internet’s success lies in its design, which is based on the principle of net neutrality. From the outset, the flow of all the content on the Internet was treated without discrimination. New entrepreneurs did not need permission or market power to innovate on the Internet. With the development of new digital services, especially the ones consuming high bandwidth such as high-quality video streaming, some Internet operators (telecom companies and ISPs) started prioritising certain traffic – such as their own services or the services of their business partners – based on business needs and plans, justifying such an approach with a need to raise funds to further invest in the network. Net neutrality proponents strongly fight back such plans arguing this could limit open access to information and online freedoms, and stifle online innovation.