Legal Analysis of Network Neutrality under EU Competition Rules and the Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications

24 Pages Posted: 23 Aug 2008 Last revised: 17 Feb 2014

See all articles by Peggy Valcke

Peggy Valcke

KU Leuven - Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP); European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS); Bocconi University Milan

Liyang Hou

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - KoGuan Law School

David Stevens

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT (ICRI) - IBBT

Eleni Kosta

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT); Tilburg Law School

Date Written: August 22, 2008

Abstract

Network neutrality refers to a policy principle regarding access for online content and service providers to broadband infrastructure. It implies a general and ex ante obligation of non-discrimination for network operators when granting access to providers of online services, with the aim of excluding practices such as blocking access to non-affiliated content, degrading the quality of transmission, imposing unreasonable restrictions or prioritizing affiliated content. Whether such obligation should be anchored in regulation was first fiercely debated in the United States, and the issue is now gaining increased attention in other parts of the world, including the European Union, where the regulatory framework for electronic communications is currently under review. This article examines whether existing rules already provide the competent authorities with the necessary tools to take action against broadband providers discriminating or blocking content of those who are not prepared to pay a "toll" for the use of higher speed networks or better quality services. And if not, should the regulatory framework be adapted accordingly? It looks at both competition rules and the 2003 regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services, including the legislative proposals published by the European Commission on November 13, 2007 and the discussions currently taking place in the European Parliament.

Keywords: Network Neutrality, EU Competition Law, EU Electronic Communications Regulation

Suggested Citation

Valcke, Peggy and Hou, Liyang and Stevens, David and Kosta, Eleni, Legal Analysis of Network Neutrality under EU Competition Rules and the Regulatory Framework for Electronic Communications (August 22, 2008). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1246642 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1246642

Peggy Valcke

KU Leuven - Centre for IT & IP Law (CiTiP) ( email )

Sint-Michielsstraat 6 box 3443
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

European University Institute - Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (RSCAS) ( email )

Villa La Fonte, via delle Fontanelle 18
50016 San Domenico di Fiesole
Florence, Florence 50014
Italy

Bocconi University Milan ( email )

via Roentgen 1
Milan, Milan 20100
Italy

Liyang Hou (Contact Author)

Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) - KoGuan Law School ( email )

Huashan Road 1954
Xuhui District
Shanghai, Shanghai 200030
China
+86-21-6293-4632 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://law.sjtu.edu.cn/TeacherDetail123.aspx

David Stevens

Katholieke Universiteit Leuven - Interdisciplinary Centre for Law and ICT (ICRI) - IBBT ( email )

Sint-Michielsstraat 6
Leuven (Belgium), 3000
Belgium

HOME PAGE: http://www.icri.be

Eleni Kosta

Tilburg University - Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology, and Society (TILT) ( email )

P.O.Box 90153
Prof. Cobbenhagenlaan 221
Tilburg, 5037
Netherlands

Tilburg Law School

Tilburg, 5000 LE
Netherlands

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