Open letter about the Telecom Single Market Regulation (TSM)

Dear North West Resident,

Thank you for contacting me about the Telecom Single Market Regulation (TSM).

The European Parliament votes on the 27th October on the future of the Internet. As Labour MEPs and members of the S&D Group, we strongly support the historical agreement reached with the Council on the TSM before the Summer.

This agreement is the end of a long battle that the S&D Group started many years ago to end EU roaming charges and to break down artificial borders for mobile communications inside the EU. From June 15 2017, people travelling in the EU will not have to pay additional roaming charges. The end of roaming charges will be a huge benefit to holidaymakers and business travellers across the EU. Labour MEPs have long campaigned for the end of exorbitant roaming charges, and we are delighted the end is in sight.

The deal also ensures that, for the first time, the net neutrality principle will be enshrined into 28 national legal systems and will oblige internet service providers across Europe to treat all internet traffic equally without discrimination, restriction or interference and irrespective of the sender and receiver, the content, the applications or services used.

Article 3 of the Telecom Single Market states that: “End-users shall have the right to access and distribute information and content, use and provide applications and services and use terminal equipment of their choice, irrespective of the end-user’s or provider’s location or the location, origin or destination of the service, information or content, via their internet access service.”

Until now, there have been no binding pan-European rules on net neutrality. Only two EU countries (Netherlands and Slovenia) have adopted national laws on net neutrality. With the new EU law, all European countries will have to incorporate rules on net neutrality. Finally, the freedom and the right of European citizens to access or distribute Internet content will no longer depend on country rules in which they live.

If adopted, the TSM agreement will ensure that internet service providers cannot give paying customers a better service based on price. Less lucrative traffic will need to be treated equally and paid prioritisation will be banned.

Finally, the TSM agreement will guarantee  that blocking , throttling, degradation or discrimination  of online content, applications and services by internet service providers will be prohibited and that the exceptions to this general principle will be tightly defined for instance to counter a cyber-attacks and prevent traffic congestion.   This is a major improvement on today’s situation in Europe, where no rules exist and internet service providers are able to block and throttle as much as they want.

The TSM is a result of long negotiations and debates with the Council. If an Amendment is adopted in Plenary on the 27th October, as the Greens, UKIP and SNP are proposing, the deal reached with the Council will fall – there will be no net neutrality, no end to roaming charges, no ban on two-speed internet. It is all or nothing. For this reason, as Labour MEPs, we will not support the Amendments tabled for the plenary on the text.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best wishes,
Sig Theresa Griffin Full