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EU adopts net neutrality rules

The European Union adopted net neutrality rules for its 28-member countries mirroring the principles adopted by the Federal Communications Commission’s order, but left open a way for ISPs to provide specialized or innovative services.

The EU law, which will go into effect next April, prohibits “any blocking, throttling, degradation or discrimination of Internet traffic by Internet service providers.

Calling its new rules the strongest in the world, the EU also said its rules for “future proof,” because services like high-definition videoconferencing or healthcare services might require “a significant improvement in quality or the possibility to guarantee some technical requirements to their end-users that cannot be ensured in the best-effort open Internet,” the EU said Tuesday in a fact sheet.

“The possibility to provide innovative services with enhanced quality of service is crucial for European start-ups and will boost online innovation in Europe. However, such services must not be a sold as substitute for the open Internet access, they come on top of it,” the EU said.

Like the FCC, the EU stumbles over what to do with zero-rated or sponsored content and sets it aside for regulators to “monitor and ensure compliance with the rules.”

Privacy is also part of the rules, limiting the processing of data to “what is necessary and proportionate to achieve the objectives of traffic management.”

The EU also adopted new roaming rules, ending roaming charges within the 28-member States beginning June 2017.