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Net neutrality rules must safeguard innovation in the open Internet

Brussels 11th September 2013 - OpenForum Europe (OFE) welcomes the Commission proposal for a Regulation laying down measures to complete the European single market for electronic communications and to achieve a Connected Continent announced today by Vice-President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes.

The proposal aims to improve the European regulatory framework for traffic management and the open Internet, which OpenForum Europe has been calling for since 2008. At a time when many Member States are either considering or enacting national net neutrality rules (see our Country Factsheets), we believe that now is a crucial time for the EU to take the lead on this issue.

OFE welcomes efforts to effectively ban discriminatory blocking and throttling of content on the Internet, a positive step forward that will ensure that no single provider or category of services will be excluded from competition.

However, OFE has serious concerns with the proposed framework for so-called “specialised services”. These services, which assure high quality and bandwidth to consumers at a premium price - for example by guaranteeing access to VoIP or VoD applications - could have an impact on the quality of services delivered over the open and non-discriminatory Internet. There is a place for so-called specialised services. They offer scope for innovative business models. But it is crucial that these are clearly distinguished from the open and non-discriminatory Internet.

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