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EU votes to bring net neutrality

Members of the European Parliament have voted to bring EU-wide net neutrality rules, late Tuesday.

According to a Tech Crunch report, these rules should come into effect starting April 30, 2016.

The vote, which took place in the European Parliament this afternoon, was passed without amendments, and it blocks ISPs from becoming too powerful.

Speaking ahead of the vote in the European Parliament today, European Commission VP Andrus Ansip, who heads up the Digital Single Market strategy, described the agreement as “a good deal, for Europe and Europeans”.

“I’m also really happy that we able to find consensus in common principles of net neutrality. No blocking, no throttling, no pre-paid prioritisation,” he added.

However, there are still people who are unsatisfied with the results, saying there are "loopholes”. These critics claim the rules would undermine the principle that all network traffic should be treated equally because they sanction ‘fast lanes’ for so-called “specialized services with quality requirements”.

Some 200 members of parliament proposed amendments to the rules, which were aimed at addressing these loopholes, however that was not enough to survive the vote.

The EC also voted agreed to end mobile roaming charges by mid 2017, with significant cuts by next summer.

Commenting on the vote on her website, MEP Marietje Schaake — one of the politicians calling for more clearly defined rules on net neutrality — criticized the “vague texts” passed by today’s vote, adding: “In the discussions, too much attention was given to the interests of national telecom companies and too little to those of internet users and the economy of the future.”

The European Commission will hold a press conference later today, where more details should be known.