Net Neutrality Comes to Europe

Net neutrality has become a political and regulatory football in the United States, with internet service providers squaring off against electronic libertarians, and the feds uneasily caught in the middle. But in one European nation, for the first time, it may be about to become law.

In the Netherlands, the parliament is weighing a net neutrality bill designed to prevent the dominant (and newly privatized) telco from discriminating against certain kinds of net traffic.

As Ars Technica describes it, the telco had planned to "use deep packet inspection to monitor and classify all subscriber internet traffic, singling out the protocols or apps it chose and billing more for those bits." As we type this, we can just imagine the Netflix people shivering in horror.

The Dutch minister for economic affairs quickly responded with a bill that's cleared the lower house of parliament and is expected to clear the upper house. It prohibits ISPs from slowing down applications and services except to minimize congestion, preserve security, fight spam, or carry out a law or court order. ISPs also may not use pricing to discriminate against services or applications.

See Ars Technica.