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EU commissioner tells parliamentarians that delivering net neutrality will garner votes

PCWorld - With an eye on next year’s European elections, on Thursday called on the European Parliament to support her longstanding plans to end roaming charges and guarantee net neutrality.

 Though contrary to media reports no concrete legislation was presented, Kroes has been pushing for an end to roaming charges for some time and has managed to reduce them substantially in recent years. Her aim to see net neutrality enshrined across all 27 E.U. member states is also well documented, and her speech reiterated her position.

Kroes has been laying the groundwork for net neutrality for years. When she first appeared in a hearing before the European Parliament as a candidate for digital agenda commissioner in January 2010, she said that ISPs “shouldn’t be allowed to limit the access to service or content out of commercial motivation.” In April 2012 she instructed BEREC (the Body of Regulators on Electronic Communications) to carry out a study on the implications of net neutrality and in July 2012 she launched a public consultation on the subject.

Kroes’ work followed moves made by the European Commission. As far back as 2009, the Commission’s digital agenda department set its commitment to net neutrality.

However, when her home country of the Netherlands made net neutrality a legal requirement in June 2011, Kroes expressed concern that it had done so unilaterally, rather than waiting for E.U. legislation.

But that legislation was still not forthcoming on Thursday and no firm policy package was presented, although the Commissioner appeared to reiterate her commitment with one eye on the calendar.