How are you reading this?
How are you reading this? Where do you manage your bank account? What do you use to find restaurants? Right, the Internet. And wouldn't it suck if the wonderful diverse world of information, services and kitten videos were somehow restricted?
The process will focus closely on areas affecting consumers: transparency about the services they receive; switching operators easily and how their traffic is treated compared with other users in terms of priority. The European Commission is seeking the opinions of pretty much everyone involved in the Internet, to wit:
The back end of the Internet is a bit like plumbing
The back end of the Internet is a bit like plumbing: not terribly sexy, something you only notice when it's broken. As a matter of fact, it’s in effect important. Imagine if one day the water company started collecting your neighbor's sewage, however not yours. To make up for it, if they said they were going to prioritize getting fresh water to the hospital in emergencies, one would probably be quite understanding. That's traffic management.
Some ISPs do the same. According to a report by BEREC* the most frequently reported restrictions are the blocking or throttling of peer-to-peer filesharing on both fixed and mobile networks, and the blocking of VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) traffic on mobile networks.
Moreover, Europe's internet infrastructure is getting to put it more exactly creaky. Another ‘Kroes-ade‘ is trying to get the continent's telecoms operators to pony up and build more super-fast fiber networks, instead of relying on the creaky old copper wire laid decades ago.
Simultaneously, everyone wants more Internet, in more places, all the time - witness today's separate rollout of the 4G network by Mobistar in the Belgian city of Antwerp, which the police will use to send live images to their radio room, via the Internet, from a 360-degree camera mounted on the roof of a police van.
*Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications, which brings at the same time the EU's 27 national telecoms regulators. The fact that the US has one FCC during Europe has 27 is a whole other blog post
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