End Roaming Charges & Enshrine Net Neutrality - EU Commissioner

25 March 2015 | Author: Kirsten Morel

EU Commissioner, Andrus Ansip has backed calls for the abolition of roaming charges as part of the development of a single EU telecoms market. At the same time, he reiterated the need to maintain Net neutrality - something that the EU has moved away from in recent months.

In the speech given at the European Voice event in Brussels, entitled, "Creating Europe's digital highways", Vice President Ansip explained that the telecoms insurty lay at the heart of the digital single market. 

"We cannot have a Digital Single Market without the necessary backbone of telecommunications," he said.

The speech falls at an important time in Europe's digital development with EU member states beginning negotiations on a single market for telecoms and EU commissioners today debating the digital single market.

Whilst accepting that the development of a single market will not be easy, he expressed dismay at the "lack of ambition" being shown in the member states' negotiations.

Andrus pulled no punches in supporting Net neutrality and characterised progress on the abolition of roaming charges, as "a joke".

"We need to abolish roaming charges as soon as possible. We need strong net neutrality rules and more coordination on spectrum. As you may have noticed, spectrum is still on our agenda – but not on that of EU Member States. This is despite the significance, ambition and urgency that EU heads of state gave to the single telecoms market back in October 2013.

"On roaming, I cannot support the very limited basic allowance of Council's current reply to people's call for the complete abolition of roaming charges. It is a joke.

"We must definitely go further. We should remember our ultimate aim: the full and swift abolition of roaming surcharges – and not only their reduction. 

"On net neutrality, there are three elements we should address:

"Firstly, we need to make sure that the internet is not splintered apart by different rules. This is why we need common rules for net neutrality.

"Then, we need an open internet for consumers. No blocking or throttling.

"And we want an internet that allows European industry to innovate and provide better services for consumers."

In the muddled world of EU politics these are strong and straight words. Whether results will be seen anytime soon, is a question that that only time can answer.

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