Net Neutrality Guidelines

August 29, 2016

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) has published its Guidelines to National Regulatory Authorities (NRAs) on the implementation of the new net neutrality. BEREC’s mandate to produce the Guidelines stems from the Telecoms Single Market Regulation on open internet access.

The Guidelines provide guidance for NRAs to take into account when implementing the rules and assessing specific cases.

After meetings with European-level stakeholders in December 2015 and a workshop with high-level academic, legal and technical experts in February 2016, BEREC launched a six-week public consultation on the draft Guidelines, closing on 18 July. The number of contributions received (481,547) was unprecedented for a BEREC consultation. The BEREC Office has processed the contributions received, and BEREC has updated about a quarter of the paragraphs in the final Guidelines.

The Guidelines are published together with an accompanying consultation report summarising stakeholders’ views submitted and how they have been taken into account.

In finalising the Guidelines, BEREC took into account the many responses received, which were often arguing in opposite directions. On certain topics, some stakeholders wanted BEREC to go further on certain topics whilst others wanted BEREC to be less prescriptive, depending on their respective perspective. BEREC considers this a signal that, in many areas, BEREC’s initial approach had struck an appropriate balance in accordance with BEREC’s interpretation of the Regulation. Among those paragraphs that BEREC decided to amend, BEREC clarified those where the consultation revealed misunderstandings or a potential lack of clarity. Furthermore, BEREC provided additional examples where appropriate and brought the text closer in line with the provisions and recitals of the Regulation.