Andrus Ansip, the EC’s vice president for the digital single market, listed “three problem areas” that must be tackled before the Digital Single Market can move forward.
“Irritating roaming charges” featured on Ansip’s list, as did inconsistent policies across the EU on allocating wireless capacity.
A third concern is a lack of net neutrality. The internet is universal and should remain free and open, he argued, and that principle should be embedded in law.
Establishing a single telecoms market is central to the EU’s plan for a Digital Single Market, he said.
Ansip was speaking in a debate organised by the European Internet Foundation in Brussels.
Last week, he said the EC will unveil key proposals for the Digital Single Market in May, a timeline also endorsed by his colleague Guenther Oettinger yesterday (20 January).
Separately, the EU Council of Ministers yesterday (20 January) published a draft policy on net neutrality with three main amendments compared to the original document published by the Italian presidency in November 2014.
The draft added a definition of internet access services, as well as restructuring an article that addresses end-users’ right to an open internet and providers’ freedom to offer services other than internet access.
Thirdly, the draft lays out what represents reasonable traffic management (an allowable concept within net neutrality rules). The list of exceptional situations where service providers are permitted to block or discriminate against internet access is limited to four.
Next week (27 January) there is a meeting for member states to comment on the draft in detail.
Once the council agrees on a common position, it will negotiate with the European Parliament and the European Commission to confirm a final version.