Dutch Lower House Opposes Carriers Blocking Services

Well, this is a pleasant surprise. This weekend, we ran a story about the carrier situation in the The Netherlands. The largest carrier in The Netherlands has announced it’s going to charge for services like IM and Skype, while the other two carriers were thinking about following suit. I stated I expected little from our politicians – but boy, turns out I was wrong. Basically the entire lower house – left to right, progressive to conservative – is not happy with the carriers’ moves, and are now exploring options to prohibit them from implementing their plans – including the option to embed net neutrality in our telecommunications act. Go go… Politicians?!

NU.nl, a popular Dutch news website, contacted all the parties in our parliament (we have ten of them), and each and every response was very negative towards the carriers’ plans. The SP (socialist party) is calling for antitrust authorities (NMa) to investigate the situation, but the NMa has already made it clear there’s very little they can do. Other parties, consequently, don’t advocate involving the NMa, but they’re still not happy and are looking into other options.

“If we allow certain services to be blocked, we will be at the whim of the carriers, with censorship right around the corner,” the greens state. The liberals take it all a step further: “It’s fine if carriers want to differentiate their offerings. The more you download, the more you pay, but this isn’t North Korea where someone else determines which sites you can visit.”

The lower house wants to make it impossible for carriers to block services and websites, while still allowing them to differentiate with internet speeds or data caps. Net neutrality may be added to our telecommunications act to make this possible, which would be a good step forward for the free and open internet.

Who would’ve thunk that our politician would actually be interested in this?


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