Net neutrality
Produced in partnership with Ronnie Preiskel of Preiskel & Co LLP

The following TMT practice note produced in partnership with Ronnie Preiskel of Preiskel & Co LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Net neutrality
  • Brexit
  • Net neutrality before Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 (Roaming IV)
  • The Electronic Communications and Wireless Telegraphy Regulations 2011
  • Ofcom’s principles for providing consumer information on traffic management
  • Voluntary rules on net neutrality
  • Roaming IV
  • End-user right to open internet access
  • Regulation of traffic management measures
  • Zero-rating
  • More...

Net neutrality

This Practice Note explains how the principle that use of the internet should be kept free from any sort of discrimination, commonly known as ‘net neutrality’, has been implemented into EU and UK legislation. This includes consideration of the provisions in Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 (Roaming IV) that implemented net neutrality and Retained Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 which now applies in the UK.

The expression ‘net neutrality’ refers to a principle according to which use of the internet should be kept free from any sort of discrimination—therefore, providing equal opportunities of access to any user.

The term was first coined in 2003 by Tim Wu, a media law professor at Columbia University and belongs to a group of principles related to the freedom of use of the internet. It is included in the general idea of the ‘open internet’, being the idea that the full resources of the internet and means to operate on it should be easily accessible to all individuals, companies and organisations.

When considered from a legal perspective, net neutrality is often identified with a ban on both restrictions and/or discrimination against individuals’ access to the internet.

The inclusion of the principle within European legislation was mainly a response to certain discriminatory practices adopted by internet services providers (ISPs) to manage internet traffic. These include:

  1. blocking, by which ISPs may choose to block certain sites or

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