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E.U. won't adopt net neutrality law

By Cecilia Kang

top Internet policy maker said Thursday the region will not introduce net neutrality rules to prevent Internet network companies from blocking or prioritizing certain content because of healthy competition.

Neelie Kroes
, the commissioner for the E.U.’s digital agenda, said in a speech in Brussels that European nations would instead rely on guidelines that would stop anticompetitive behavior by telecom and cable firms and protect consumers. International governments have been weighing net neutrality proposals as more people around globe use the Web as their main mode of communication.

The effort by Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski has been hobbled by slow movement on the issue and a court decision that put the agency’s authority to implement broadband rules in

“If we encounter significant and persistent problems, I will not be afraid to change the law in the future to achieve competition and choice consumers deserve,” Kroes said in the speech.

But she said a telecom regulatory framework adopted by the European Commission in 2009 provides clear guidelines for what is and isn’t permissible behavior. National regulatory authorities overseeing the practices of their local network operators are “our best insurance policy” and “competition is the open Internet’s best friend,” Kroes said.

She also said consumers will guide industry behavior. If a carrier were to block Skype, a service Kroes said she uses to call family back home, consumers would protest.

“I hope this monitoring and the upcoming implementation of the telecoms framework by Member States will pave the way for truly open networks,” Kroes said.

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