Over 500,000 comments to EU regulators: protect net neutrality
Academics, technology leaders, the web's inventor, and over 500,000 people write to EU regulator BEREC in one clear, unified message: protect net neutrality.
The numbers are in: the European net neutrality movement is celebrating a huge milestone with the submission of over 500,000 comments to EU regulators.
The public consultation, organised by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), which lasted only six weeks and closed on the 18th of July, provoked an unprecedented response from the EU public. In their previous consultations, BEREC never received more than 100 hundred responses, so a massive total of 510,370 responses is truly historic.
‘The only industry fighting net neutrality is telecom. Why? Because these rules prohibit business models that, while profitable to telecom, would be disastrous for everyone else," said Markus Beckedahl editor in chief of Netzpolitik.org(Germany). "Net neutrality becomes a crucial test for democracy in Europe. Will we allow a small group of powerful companies to hijack European public policy? Or will regulators listen to the academics, innovators, small companies, and over 500,000 people who spoke out?"
The net neutrality movement has also been supported in open letters from academics and entrepreneurs and investors, both counting over 100 signatories, and by Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.
BEREC will publish their final guidelines on 30th of August 2016.
Quotes from members of the coalition
"You can't ignore half a million people, especially when that number includes leading tech startups, investors, experts from academia, and even the inventor of the web himself," said Thomas Lohninger (Austria, AKVorrat), "The public has spoken, and the demand is very clear: strong net neutrality rules to stop telecom giants from profiting by interfering with the Internet."
"A broad cross-section of the public supports these rules, and their demands are clear," said Agnès du Cornulier (France, La Quadrature du Net) "The only remaining question is: will Europe's regulators listen, or will they cave to lobbying pressure from enormously powerful telecom companies? If Europe's regulators are to maintain legitimacy, they must listen to the public."
"This is precisely what's so special about the open Internet. Without it, you never could have imagined such a broad coalition as this," said Simona Levi (Spain, Xnet) "That's also what's at stake if we lose. How would campaigns to deepen democracy – like this one – be possible, if we let a well-functioning Internet become the sole province of major companies that pay for special treatment?"