Digital Single Market (Part 1) (Regulation)
The EU Commission proposes an extensive overhaul of the digital single market rules. Part 1 of the cepPolicyBrief concerns net neutrality and the full harmonisation of the rights of end-users. Part 2 deals with the notification requirement for telecomms providers, radio frequencies and virtual broadband access. The change to the Roaming Regulation and cross-border fixed-network connections within the EU will be considered in Part 3.
It is appropriate to clarify that contractual agreements on data volume limitations and specialised services are permitted. Furthermore, EU-wide fully-harmonised end-user rights contribute to the completion of the single market. However, the imprecise definition of specialised services inhibits innovation and broadband development. A statutory requirement for net neutrality makes it more difficult for end-users to conclude more cost-effective contracts that leave out individual services. Such statutory requirement can only be justified – if at all – upon an internet access provider having a dominant position in the end-user market. The right to terminate contracts with a short delay inhibits broadband development. Placing traffic management measures which are to prevent or impede serious crimes largely within the discretion of private internet access providers, encroaches upon fundamental rights as the EU’s intervention is too imprecise.