Dutch regulator decides zero-rating service does not breach net neutrality

9 Feb 2018

Netherlands' Authority for Consumers and Markets denied a request by the civil society group Bits of Freedoms to take action against T-Mobile, as the telecom operator was allegedly breaching net neutrality rules through its zero-rated music streaming offer. The authority decided that it had no reason to intervene, as T-Mobile was offering the service on a non-discriminatory basis, and without any harmful effects on users and their rights.

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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.


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