GSMA demands Europe overrules Dutch on net neutrality

The Dutch have passed a law that bans zero-rating of mobile data but the GSMA isn’t happy about it and wants the EC to overrule.

This the type of sovereignty issue that will always blight a supranational organisation such as the European Union. The recent case of the EC overriding Irish law to claim billions of back taxes from Apple was another example and the sovereignty debate was the biggest reason Europe lost the Brexit vote.

Europe’s interminable Digital Single Market initiative has decreed a bunch of parameters, which include some allowance for zero-rating of mobile data. Holland’s new law flies in the face of that and creates a classic sovereignty dilemma.

It’s clear which side the GSMA is taking on this. “We are greatly disappointed with the outcome of today’s vote” said Afke Schaart, GSMA’s European Vice President. “We believe that the Dutch net neutrality law goes far beyond the intent of the EU Regulation. We therefore call on the European Commission to ensure the harmonised implementation of Europe’s Open Internet rules.

Another critic of this law is T-Mobile Netherlands, which has recently launched a zero-rated tariff for music streaming, so it’s not surprising to see the GSMA take the side of one of its key members on this matter. The zeal with which Schaart demanded the Dutch Senate be brought into line by the EC, however, is a bit shocking and sets a somewhat authoritarian precedent.

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