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Jurist European Court of Justice backs net neutrality rules

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Nov 11, 2016
The European Court of Justice backed EU net neutrality regulations Tuesday in a judgment interpreting the rules.

The ruling came in response to a Hungarian court’s request for a preliminary opinion in a case where the president of the National Communications and Media Office of Hungary ordered the Telenor Company to terminate some of its internet access services.

This is the first time that Regulation 2015/2120 has been interpreted by the court, which found that under Article 3, the packages offered by Telenor “combining a ‘zero tariff’ and measures blocking or slowing down the traffic linked to the use of ‘non-zero tariff’ services and applications, [are] liable to limit the exercise of end users’ rights.” In effect, these packages make it more likely to increase the use of the apps and services which are “zero tariff,” while at the same time reducing the use of other apps and services by making it more difficult to use them. The court noted that the cumulative effect of consumers selecting these packages would be to limit or undermine users’ rights protected by the regulation.

“[Regarding] the interpretation of Article 3(3) of Regulation 2015/2120, the court found that, in order to make a finding of incompatibility with that provision, no assessment of the effect of measures blocking or slowing down traffic on the exercise of end users’ rights is required.” The court also found that where such measures are based on commercial considerations, they are incompatible with Article 3(3).

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