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This blog monitors and reports on broadband policy and marketplace developments in the UK, Europe and worldwide that are likely to be of interest to the Janet community. Posts here may also reference my Broadband Policy Watch blog and you can also find me on Twitter.

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European developments June 2017

Monday, July 10, 2017 - 13:54

The Council of the European Union voted to adopt new rules on the cross-border portability of online content services (such as music, film and TV services and apps). The new rules are intended to provide a high level of protection and legal certainty to European consumers, in particular when buying cross-border as well as to make it easier for businesses, especially SMEs, to sell EU-wide. See commentary from Out-Law (more here, further background and context here).

The European Commission Directorate-General for Competition published Zero-rating practices in broadband markets, a report exploring the practice of excluding some traffic from overall data caps. Zero-rating is not explicitly prohibited by current European net neutrality guidelines. The report acknowledges that while practice can “impact on competition between internet service providers (ISPs) and content and application providers (CAPs)”, there is currently “little reason to believe that zero-rating gives rise to competition concerns.” The study found that the practice tends to be much more prominent in the case of mobile than fixed broadband services and also sets out an initial framework for the competition assessment of zero-rating practices. Again see commentary from Out-Law.

The Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC) published its response to the European Commission’s consultation on the review of the significant market power (SMP) guidelines. The Commission is reviewing the SMP guidelines in the light of the forthcoming implementation of the new European Electronic Communications Code (EECC).

Also in relation to the EECC, the Fibre to the Home (FTTH) Council Europe published an open letter to European telecoms ministers in support of the Commission’s broadband ambitions, but also expressing concern that network investments in Europe are lower than in the rest of the world. The FTTH Council Europe calls for the Commission to ensure that the new EECC both encourages and creates the right conditions for further investment in broadband networks.

The RemIX Project (more here), a distributed Internet exchange for remote and rural networks in Scotland, was one of the five winners of the European Broadband Awards 2016 competition.