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EU Parliament position on Net Neutrality shows Corporate interests come first - Carthy

27 October, 2015 - by Matt Carthy MEP


Speaking after the votes, the Midlands North West MEP said,

"Despite calls by Sinn Féin and large numbers of campaigners to the European institutions not to weaken the Single Telecom Market proposals, the negotiations resulted in significantly watered down references to net neutrality, and a completely deleted crucial definition from the text.

"As well as delaying the abolition of mobile phone roaming charges to 2017 the ambiguity regarding net neutrality clearly show the influence of corporate lobbyists.  Ahead of this plenary session I, along with my Sinn Féin and GUE/NGL colleague's co-signed amendments precisely to reinstall the crucial definitions to ensure that net neutrality was settled in primary legislation.  This principle is vital to protecting consumers' access to high quality internet and mobile services over ISP's increased profits.  This was an opportunity for MEP's to stand up to put the rights of citizens before those of corporations.

"Shamefully, the re-instalment of this important definition was defeated by 411 votes to 231, meaning that the legislation that will now enter force leaves open the door to restriction and discrimination between internet traffic depending on the sender, receiver, content and device.

"Negotiators and lobbies repeatedly tried to mask the issue of net neutrality by marketing this piece of legislation as a 'data-roaming-only' issue. Data roaming however will also now be put on hold for at least another year thanks to excuses and delaying tactics on the part of the Council.

"Without Net neutrality properly enshrined in the legal text, it will be more difficult for EU residents to access websites that can't afford to pay extra fees. SMEs and start-ups will be left behind with market domination by big companies. ISPs will also be able to define classes and speed up or slow down traffic in those specified classes even where there is no network congestion.

"This is a truly disappointing result and places unnecessary, additional barriers in the way of smaller sites, newspapers and organisations."

ENDS

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