MEPs call for stricter net neutrality rules, ban on roaming charges

18 March 2014 | Sophie Donoghue


The European Parliament’s industry committee has voted to tighten rules on net neutrality and to ban roaming charges in the EU.

The industry, research and energy committee (ITRE) has adopted the draft EU telecoms legislation package, which contains new rules for the telecoms industry.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) added rules to the draft legislation to prevent telecoms companies from slowing down or blocking internet connections to their competitors’ services and applications.

At the same time, MEPs also voted to back plans to ban roaming charges within the EU from December 2015. However, MEPs asked the European Commission to lay down guidelines for exceptional cases, in which companies would be allowed to apply charges in an effort to protect against abusive usage of retail roaming services.

"With today's industry committee vote, the European Parliament has taken one great step towards consolidating the telecommunications single market,” said Pilar del Castillo Vera, the Spanish MEP who is leading the parliament's work on the telecoms package.

“The committee has not only proposed abolishing retail roaming charges for voice, SMS and data by 15 December 2015, but also tabled substantive proposals, e.g. on efficient spectrum management, that will allow 4G and 5G deployment throughout Europe,” she added.

The telecoms package will be voted on by the parliament as a whole on April 3.

Once adopted, the parliament will have to get the package past Europe’s national governments, in the form of the European Council, before the package becomes law.