Vodafone set to hit out at European web traffic rules

01 September 2014 | Kavit Majithia


UK group Vodafone is set to hit out at proposed European rules for handling web traffic on networks at a conference in Spain today.

Vittorio Colao, CEO of the company, will join a round-table discussion in Santander, as other European executives meet in Brussels to discuss rules which could prevent carriers from blocking websites and reduce the level of network quality they provide.

Vodafone will reportedly argue that the move could hurt its business and discourage innovation, as operators aim to avoid EU restrictions preventing carriers from treating traffic from certain companies differently, including Netflix, which is expanding video streaming services across Europe.

Netflix added Germany, France and four other European countries to its reach in the last month.

Carriers argue that companies like Netflix should be made to pay a toll for streaming large amounts of content over carrier networks, as it requires investment in infrastructure to accommodate high-bandwidth video content.

Vodafone’s direct of policy, Markus Reinisch said that the present rules are too restrictive and could impact the functioning of the internet across Europe, which would have lasting effects for consumers.

The European Commission attempted to unify the continent’s telecoms regulation last year, in a bid to remove roaming fees and make spectrum auctions follow similar principles across different markets.

After the European parliament made amendments to this proposal in April, carriers argued that the laws had become unfair.

Companies including Facebook and Google have been in favour of protecting free traffic flow over the internet, while EC commissioner Neelie Kroes has said net neutrality legislation is inevitable, and it is working towards implementing a unified set of rules across the continent.

Kroes will leave her post on November 1 this year.