Big news out of the Netherlands today, where government minister Verhagen announced plans to guarantee network neutrality by law. If Parliament approves the amendment to Dutch telecommunications law, and it expected to do so, it would become one of the first countries in the world to legislate against Internet providers who want to charge more for using particular applications or services. Verhagen will draft a net neutrality proposal in the next few weeks, one that will give users confidence that “specific Internet service on their mobile will not be additionally taxed or blocked by mobile providers.”
Read here on Ars Technica what led to the change
It has been an open secret in Europe for some time that mobile operators like to block or discriminate against Internet services which compete with their legacy offerings. Skype and similar voice services are the most obvious targets, but newer tools like WhatsApp (which offers text-messaging style communications over the Internet) have also been targets. Many mobile operators stand to make less money from selling pure data packages than they did when they could also charge separately for text messaging and voice minutes; some have simply decided to bill more for Internet services that compete with those offerings.