Blocking and throttling Internet traffic will become illegal in the European Union following a parliamentary vote on Thursday.
Members of the European Parliament voted to close loopholes in a proposed law that some believed would have created a two-tier Internet. The so-called Telecoms Package originally described “specialized services,” which would have allowed Internet service providers to charge more for more data-intensive content services such as voice over IP and streaming video.
“After months of negotiations, the European Parliament has today adopted my proposal to close the last remaining loopholes in the text, in order to enshrine net neutrality in European law. Today’s vote creates safeguards to ensure that players without deep pockets, such as start-ups, hospitals or universities, cannot be pushed out of the market as a result of deals between Internet service providers and content providers to offer faster services at a higher price,” said Dutch Member of the European Parliament Marietje Schaake.
The package also abolishes roaming charges for mobile phone use in the EU.
The law is expected to be ratified by member states by the end of the year.