The Authority for Consumers and Markets in the Netherlands has imposed fines on KPN and Vodafone — the country’s two largest operators —for violating net neutrality rules.
KPN has been hit with a €250,000 penalty, while rival Vodafone is worse off by €200,000, following the ruling.
The regulator said KPN was guilty of blocking various services, including VoIP, on its Wi-Fi hotspots. Vodafone’s offence was to zero rate the data charge for subscribers watching HBO on their mobile devices.
However operators, not just mobile but cable and fixed too, have argued strongly that they must retain the right to manage the traffic passing over their networks.
Separately, four leading trade bodies (Cable Europe, Etno, GSMA and Make The NetWork) yesterday issued a statement directed towards the EU.
The statement pointed out that the industry has to cater for diverse demand from users which requires a wide variety of internet access products and services.
“In this context, it is not technologically efficient or beneficial for consumers if all traffic is treated equally. Nor has this ever been the case,” it said.
The smooth running of today’s internet is underpinned by traffic management and network routing technologies embedded in its infrastructure, the statement pointed out.
It also addressed the issue of “positive price discrimination” raised last week by the European Council.
The trade bodies’ statement said regulation of retail offers should be avoided in Europe’s competitive market.
“In particular, a principle that bans positive price differentiation would deprive consumers of attractive services that they are using today and may act as a deterrent to innovation for new services and business models,” it said.
Last week, the Latvian presidency said a proposal on price discrimination was put forward, and gained some support among member states. However, it acknowledged other member states had objected, meaning that an explicit proposal to ban the practice lacked the necessary support.
The council is now asking member states how this issue should be resolved in its draft legislative text.