Last month, we reported that thousands of EU websites were taking part in a Union-wide demonstration, intended to push authorities into protecting net neutrality. The protests, alongside the petitions that citizens signed and sent were aimed at BEREC, the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications. The protests are now over.
Earlier this week, BEREC’s official public consultation period for a law dealing with net neutrality came to an end. In an unprecedented move, more than 500,000 citizens sent in their thoughts and responses, demanding that the EU authorities enact strong net neutrality rules.
Meanwhile hundreds of academics, NGOs and other interested parties, not to mention Tim Berners-Lee himself, argued in favor of net neutrality and demanded that the EU respect this basic, founding principle of the internet.
Some readers may correctly point to last year’s developments, when the EU finally agreed to net neutrality and proposed it as a law. But that law, even at the time, was viewed as a barely workable compromise, which some argued only paid lip service to net neutrality, while leaving numerous loopholes for companies to take advantage of. The situation has not improved since, and now is the last chance the public has to express their view on it – hence the protests.
This outpouring of support in favor of net neutrality may well sway BEREC and alter the proposed law to include stronger safeguards for a free and open internet. BEREC will announce the final version of the law on August 30th.