Net neutrality in Europe

This timeline shows the key moments in the net neutrality debate in Europe in the last six years. The campaign for strong rules - to safeguard privacy and freedom of expression online - ended on 30 August 2016. Bearing in mind that the initial legislative proposal was quite the opposite of net neutrality, civil society was able to score a huge success and obtained strong rules for Europe, as a global standard-setter.

2009-09-01 11:06:12

EDRi office in Brussels opens

The EDRi office in Brussels was opened by Joe McNamee.

2009-12-22 11:06:12

Neelie Kroes says:

"We also need to ensure that (...) networks are reliable and resilient, open and neutral”

2010-01-14 07:35:12

Neelie Kroes says

"For me, when that is done for commercially motivated reasons,that is absolutely a no go.Only when security issues or when spam is involved to name just two (...) but not for commercially motivated reasons. Then it is not net neutrality."

2010-01-14 21:36:36

Neelie Kroes says:

„(...) that net neutrality is absolutely crucial.On a personal note I put even a heart by this item on my paper! It is of high importance for both of us, the Commission as well, to preserve the open and neutral character of the net.“

2010-04-03 03:10:53

T-mobile blocks Skype

Deutsche Telekom, parent company to T-Mobile, has announced that it plans to block access to Skype for iPhone (read our review of it here) in Germany:

2010-06-01 15:47:35

BT throttles BBC iplayer

BT Broadband cuts the speed users can watch video services like the BBC iPlayer and YouTube at peak times.

2010-06-30 08:53:45

1st EU Commission consultation launched

2010-11-11 11:06:12

Neelie Kroes says:

"In the spirit of net neutrality all such content and applications should receive equal treatment.” - "Any content or application that is legal and which does not cause undue congestion or otherwise harm other users or network integrity should be fully accessible."

2011-04-22 06:36:36

KPN announces use of DPI

Dutch mobile provider KPN announced plans to charge mobile phone users separate fees for using voice-over-IP (VoIP) services like Skype, instant messaging programs, and streaming video.

2011-05-03 04:37:41

French ISP throttles Youtube

French ISP "Free" throttles YouTube.

2011-10-07 13:39:13

EDPS adopts opinion

In his opinion, the EDPS has made some recommendations which include: the determination of legitimate inspection practices needed to ensure the smooth flow of traffic or carried out for security purposes; the determination of the cases when monitoring requires the users' consent (such as filtering aimed to limit access to certain applications and services, such as peer to peer); and, in such cases, the necessity of guidance regarding the application of the necessary data protection safeguards (purpose limitation, security etc).

2011-10-15 14:36:36

1st BEREC consultation lauched

The BEREC launches a consultation on its guidelines on Net Neutrality and Transparency

2011-11-09 15:45:11

Neelie Kroes says:

she heard "allegations that some internet providers throttle, degrade the quality of services"

2011-11-17 07:45:11

1st EU Parliament resolution

"Calls further on the Commission to ensure that internet service providers do not block, discriminate against, impair or degrade the ability of any person to use a service to access, use, send, post, receive or offer any content, application or service of their choice, irrespective of source or target;

2012-02-23 04:28:02

2, 3 and 4 BEREC consultations launched

BEREC launches consultations - three guidelines on Quality of Service (BoR 32), IP-interconnection (BoR 33) and differentiation practices (BoR 31)

2012-03-15 04:37:41

Euro watchdog: Telcos ARE strangling VoIP and P2P traffic

EU telecoms companies are commonly using 'traffic management' practices to block Voice over IP (VoIP) traffic and peer-to-peer (P2P) file-sharing activity online, an EU regulator has said.

2012-05-08 21:28:02

Netherlands adopt legislation

In reaction to KPN's anti-neutrality plans, a broad majority in the Dutch Parliament voted for a legislative proposal to safeguard an open Internet in The Netherlands. The proposal prohibits Internet access providers from restricting or charging end-users for specific services.

2012-05-29 04:28:02

Neelie Kroes says:

"consumers also need to know if they are getting Champagne or lesser sparkling wine. (…) I do not propose to force each and every operator to provide full Internet."

2012-05-29 10:10:53

BEREC publishes findings

“At least 20% of mobile Internet users in Europe have some form of restriction on their ability to access VoIP services, although there are differences by country (depending for example on the number of operators providing unrestricted access)”

2012-07-23 23:45:11

2nd Commission consultation launched

A new Net Neutrality EC consultation delays possible regulations

2012-10-26 13:36:36

EU Parliament demands net neutrality legislation

"81. Calls on the Commission to propose legislation to ensure net neutrality;"

2012-12-15 07:56:52

EU Parliament demands net neutrality - again

EU Parliament demands stronger net neutrality protections - the resolution "Digital Freedom Strategy in EU Foreign Policy”, stresses that the EP "strongly supports the principle of net neutrality, namely that Internet Service Providers do not block, discriminate against, impair or degrade, including through price, the ability of any person to use a service to access, use, send, post, receive or offer any content, application or service of their choice, irrespective of source or target" and "calls on the Commission and Council to promote and preserve high standards of digital freedom in the EU, in particular by codifying the principle of net neutrality".

2012-12-20 01:02:19

Slovenia introduces legislation

Slovenia has a net neutrality law!

2013-01-16 22:38:09

Orange makes Google pay for traffic

Orange boasts: We made Google PAY US for traffic. CEO Stephane Richard admits that the the telco is being paid to deliver traffic for the search giant

2013-01-23 05:22:56

Commission group recommends legislation

"Channels or mechanisms through which media are delivered to the end user should be entirely neutral in their handling of this content. In the case of digital networks, Net Neutrality and the end-to-end principle should be enshrined within EU law."

2013-02-26 11:06:12

Vodafone blocks Viber

Vodafone blocking Viber, the free mobile phone calls and messaging application.

2013-03-20 04:52:36


"I'm fed up hearing from people who cannot legally access the music and films they love; from artists who can't reach the audiences they want; from scientists who can't properly use modern research techniques."

2013-03-30 03:16:51

France: SFR violates net neutraltiy

SFR violates net neutrality by modifying HTML content on internet mobile.

2013-07-09 05:47:49


"So I will guarantee net neutrality. (...) Allowing the new premium services which so many new services rely on"

2013-07-11 05:47:49

Leak: draft regulation for a "Telecoms Single Market"

The leaked regulation aims, in Article 20, to prohibit anti-competitive blocking and throttling, BUT at the same time it proposes also the exact contrary of guaranteeing net neutrality by explicitly allowing agreements between content and access providers to prioritise traffic.

2013-09-11 14:32:05

Commission adopts Telecom Single Market package

In September 2013, the European Commission produces a badly drafted, incoherent "Telecoms Single Market Regulation", which included proposals that claim to support net neutrality, but which would actually destroy it.

2014-04-01 19:41:39

Neelie Kroes writes a letter to MEPs on net neutrality

On 1 April, Neelie Kroes writes a letter to MEPS to lobby against net neutrality.

2014-04-03 21:48:29

EU Parliament votes on binding rules for Net Neutrality in the TSM

In April 2014, the European Parliament adopts its first reading position. It closes the loopholes in the Commission's badly written text.

2014-06-06 19:41:39

Neelie Kroes says:

At the June 6 Telecoms Council, Commissioner Kroes first acknowledged the importance of ensuring net neutrality on the EU level, “as expected by citizens”. Immediately after, she asked the Council to “ensure the proper balance between protecting the open internet and allowing and encouraging innovation on online services”. The open internet that facilitated the avalanche of innovation, creation and social and economic benefits around the globe is now, inexplicably, portrayed by Kroes as a barrier to innovation.

2014-10-01 19:41:39

NGOs and industry join forces in an open letter to EU ministers

On 1 October, several NGOs, consumer groups and industry representatives sent an open letter to the Council of the European Union, calling for Telecoms ministers to support strong net neutrality rules in the EU.

2014-10-06 19:41:39

Vice-President Ansip says:

"All the traffic in the Internet has to be treated equally, nobody has [the] right to abuse their dominant position in the market or gate keeper's position,"

2014-10-28 02:57:52

Price discriminations reported by Digital Fuel Monitor

Digital Fuel Monitor listed 75 different examples of price discrimination happening in the market in Europe

2014-10-31 02:57:52

Commissioner Oettinger says:

the market should be consolidated and that the EU’s regulatory actions should be focussed on giving profits to telecoms operators.

2014-11-14 00:04:00

Council's leaked documents show net neutrality may be in danger!

On 14 November 2014, the Italian Presidency presented amendments to the Telecommunications package for comment by the Member State delegations. The leaked documents show that the Italian Presidency is back-pedalling on net neutrality protections

2014-11-20 14:23:09

Council of Europe adopts non-binding draft Recommendation on net neutrality

On 20 November 2014, Council of Europe (Europe's leading human rights organisation) adopts a non-binding draft Recommendation whose provisions on the rule of law, privacy and net neutrality are baffling and contradictory.

2014-11-26 05:50:23

Marietje Schaake sends pro-net neutrality letter to the Council

Dutch Liberal Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Marietje Schaake prepared a strongly pro net neutrality letter to be sent to the Council. In just a few hours, she has gathered the signatures of 130 MEPs (nearly 20% of the Parliament) demanding clear net neutrality rules “to foster innovation and competition”.

2014-11-26 15:33:02

Civil Society urges the Council to adopt real net neutrality

On 26 November, the SaveTheInternet coalition sends a letter to the Council of the European Union urging support for strong and enforceable net neutrality provisions in the Telecoms Single Market regulation.

2014-11-27 09:17:24

Italian presidency abandons its net neutrality draft

The Italian Presidency of the European Council has decisively distanced itself from the leaked proposals on net neutrality. On 27 November 2014, in a post on its website, it explaines that previously proposed texts (including the leaks) were “significantly different” from the position of individual Member States, “including Italy” and that it proposed them “to act as a neutral mediator under the Presidency rather than imposing its own point of view.”

2014-11-27 14:06:59

EU Parliament calls for Net Neutrality

2015-02-11 19:33:17

Two telcos fined for net neutrality violations in Netherlands

Dutch Comsumer Authority ACM fines KPN and Vodafone for unjustified discriminatory practices.

2015-02-27 13:26:58

Council discuss draft on net neutrality

The Council of the European Union discuss the consolidated text on net neutrality. As a result of extensive pressure from the large Member States, loopholes undermining net neutrality have been re-inserted.

2015-03-03 12:10:18

Council adopts position on net neutrality

On 3 March 2015, the Council of European Union adopts its position on net neutrality and roaming.

2015-03-04 06:06:21

Council mandate for trilogues agreed

On 4 March 2015, Member States agreed a mandate for Council to start trilogue negotiations.

2015-03-05 21:04:52

Oettinger considers net neutrality as a "taliban-like issue"

2015-03-19 17:43:26

EP Question to Oettinger:

MEP Julia Reda asked a parliamentary question to Oettinger what telemedicine and transport would be (tali)banned by net neutrality. In his response, Oettinger confirmed he cannot name one e-health/transport service that would be damaged by net neutrality.

Net neutrality in Europe

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