The Internet Society is encouraged by the European Commission’s continued emphasis on the importance of an open internet evident in your article “Kroes pledges to get tough if internet firms break rules” (20-27 April).
It is this open nature of the ‘network of networks’ that has enabled the internet to be enjoyed and shaped by an increasingly diverse cast of players, from users to network managers to those whose economic competitive edge depends upon it.
When considering how to safeguard the neutrality of the internet, policymakers should therefore focus on preserving the open, user-centric internet model that has been so successful to date.
Specifically, we welcome the pledge by Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner for the digital agenda, “to ensure that citizens and business in the EU can enjoy the benefits of an open and neutral internet, without hidden restrictions and at the speeds promised by their service providers”.
We are also pleased to hear the commissioner uphold the rules of competition as being “at the core of the new enhanced telecom rules on transparency, quality of service and the ability to easily switch operators”.
Openness underpins and enables user access, choice and transparency. These principles are so critical to the success of the internet that they must be part of present and future policy for the internet. So, while competition is vital to an open internet, it must go hand in hand with a commitment to transparency and access.
One of the most important preconditions for real and effective competition is transparency about service offerings, so that users have a choice of internet service providers and can make informed choices.
Nonetheless, the Internet Society would like to remind the Commission that it has much work still to do in this area and that it will need to keep monitoring the situation closely.
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Director, European region Internet Society