EU unveils net neutrality plans, hopes to end roaming fees by 2014

The European Union will unveil plans for new net neutrality laws designed to protect the open nature of the Internet, while the 27-member bloc may also abolish roaming costs next year.

Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission and head of the Digital Agenda group, unveiled plans that would guarantee net neutrality in Europe, while also creating a unified telecommunications market by 2014.

She called for “radical legislative compromise” and said that she expects the EU can deliver the package of reforms by Easter 2014. She touted the positive economic benefits of these changes.

The exact nature of the proposed net neutrality laws has yet to be revealed. Kroes will bring the legislation before the European Parliament today, asking the EU to “save the right to access open Internet” and put an end to the blocking and throttling of Internet services and applications.

The EU has already cut and capped roaming costs in Europe, helping to lessen the effects of bill shock. Kroes said that even Eurocritics agree that the EU did well on this point, but she is not content with lower roaming charges – the objective is to abolish them completely.

“In telecoms, of all sectors, there is no place for borders!” said Kroes. “It's called a worldwide web for a reason! There is no other sector of our incomplete European single market where the barriers are so unneeded, and yet so high. The time for change is now.”