European Parliament Committee Approves Telecom Reform Bill

By Gary Kim March 18, 2014

It continually surprises some of us that content blocking and traffic shaping, or quality of service issues, are conflated. The latest example is the European Telecoms Single Market proposal recently adopted by the Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee of the European Parliament.

“Internet providers should no longer be able to block or slow down internet services provided by their competitors,” the European Parliament says. Few would disagree with that statement.

The problem is that content blocking is not synonymous with quality of service mechanisms or traffic shaping, particularly when applied to types of apps that benefit from prioritization at times of network congestion.

Then, because of linguistic confusion, “no blocking” of apps is used to justify something else, notably a restriction of Internet access to “best effort only” quality of service, something business grade services generally are allowed to provide.

The Connected Continent legislation, containing provisions related to simpler and reduced regulation, more coordination of spectrum allocation, standardized wholesale products, net neutrality, an end to roaming fees and consumer protection measures, has been approved

Internet service providers predictably oppose the restrictions on offering any levels of service aside from, “best effort.” Critics also say the exemptions for “specialized” services, including IPTV, are ambiguous about what other managed services can be created.

Granted, policymakers are right to support measures that prohibit any Internet service provider from “slowing down” or otherwise impairing the performance of any application or service that competes with an owned app or service that competes with a third party.

But quality of service mechanisms and traffic shaping can be applied in a neutral way, allowing all video entertainment, gaming or business apps to perform better. The problem with conflating “blocking” and quality of service is that end users are denied the opportunity for better experience of some apps that really do benefit from assured packet delivery mechanisms.

Unfortunately, legislators have the precedent in Europe of some ISPs having in the past actually blocked lawful apps such as Skype. But the logical approach would be to pass laws that make content blocking unlawful.

Instead, net neutrality makes traffic prioritization unlawful. They aren’t the same things.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

Contributing Editor

Related Articles

The World is His Oyster: Connected Solutions Enable Daniel Ward to See Food

By: Paula Bernier    3/16/2018

Fresh seafood can taste great, but if it is not handled properly, people can get sick, and that can lead to business closures and lost revenues. That'…

Read More

How to Get Ready for GDPR if You've Waited Until the Last Minute

By: Special Guest    3/14/2018

With less than two months until the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) deadline, many companies have already started making sure that their bu…

Read More

How Fintech is Helping Create Global Businesses

By: Special Guest    3/14/2018

The growth of Fintech probably has not escaped your attention. Whether you're a customer making contactless payments or an investor weighing up CFD tr…

Read More

Are We Prepared for Automation?

By: Special Guest    3/13/2018

We are barreling toward a future of automation. A great proportion of the six million US manufacturing jobs that have disappeared over the last few de…

Read More

The Dark Web - A Hot Bed for Cybercrime

By: Special Guest    3/12/2018

There is a corner of the internet that is cloaked from every day users. Beneath the typical search engines and web browsers, an illegal marketplace is…

Read More