Dutch make net neutrality mandatory

July 9, 2012

The Dutch senate has made network neutrality and access to services such as Viber and Skype compulsory, becoming only the second country to do so after Chile.

This may have repercussions in other countries, such as the U.S., where Verizon is currently being vilified for its efforts to resist net neutrality for its own commercial advantage.

In the Netherlands, the net neutrality legislation itself arose out of incumbent Telco KPN’s attempt in 2011 to charge customers extra for using Voice over IP and third party messaging services over its network, in response to declining voice and SMS service revenues. This also attracted widespread condemnation, and led to the Dutch government introducing legislation to outlaw such behavior.

While the net neutrality law has been widely welcomed outside KPN, another part of the same legislation is much more controversial, being to regulate access to cable networks, allowing third-party suppliers, including IPTV operators, to acquire analog spectrum as a wholesale product they can resell to their customers. This even goes against the grain of EU policy, which strongly favors net neutrality.

The EU has yet to decide though whether to introduce legislation for net neutrality at the European level, currently conducting a consultation on whether to do so.

Receive regular news and technology updates. Sign up for our free newsletter here.