The European Parliament today (3 April) voted to scrap roaming charges for mobile phones and to enshrine the principle of net neutrality in legislation that is supposed to create a single European telecoms market.
The vote, with 534 MEPs in favour, 25 against and 58 abstaining, sets down the Parliament’s position on the European Union’s telecoms package ahead of negotiations with the member states that will be led by the next Parliament.
In the Parliament’s version of the legislation, mobile operators would be banned, starting in December 2015, from charging customers any fees for using voice, text and data services in another member state.
The Parliament also backed changes to the initial proposal from the European Commission to enshrine the principle of net neutrality in the new rules and to make the list of exemptions shorter. This means that internet access providers would be banned from slowing down or blocking particular services.
At present, some European access providers use less bandwidth for services such as Skype, which allows free video calls through the internet. The new rules still allow providers to privilege certain specialised services, for example video on demand, but only if this is not to the detriment of other offers.
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