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Last updateMon, 30 Mar 2020 5pm
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The EU is forcing the Internet to slow down...thanks to net neutrality

Last week, EU Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton revealed he has been asking digital streaming and service companies to limit their bandwidth during the COVID-19 crisis in order to “secure Internet access for all”.

With more people staying at home to practice social distancing, the European Commission believes that companies should reduce the speed and quality of streaming services in order to ensure connectivity throughout the continent.

This order comes despite evidence showing broadband capacity is nowhere near its limit, speed has remained steady, and there have been no reports of widespread outages, even in Italy, which has been under lockdown for several weeks.

Responding to the EU Commissioner’s call for limiting Internet speeds, Luca Bertoletti, Senior European Affairs Manager at the Consumer Choice Center, said: “What we’re seeing from all major telecom providers in Europe is that they’re providing stable, strong, and fast connections, and consumers are very much appreciative of this.

“At the same time, the European Policymakers are asking companies to slow down their Internet services for all Europeans, which is plainly unnecessary and harms all consumers who rely on fast Internet connections for their work and private life,” said Beroletti.

“We are working from home across the continent to contain the spread of this virus. We don’t need policymakers to make our work lives even harder by asking all digital companies to severely weaken the quality of their services,” said Bertoletti.

Yaël Ossowski, Deputy Director of the Consumer Choice Center, said the order by the European regulators provides a good insight into why net neutrality is bad public policy.

“This scenario in Europe is precisely why the United States repealed its net neutrality regulation in 2018,” said Ossowski. “Even though there have been no outage issues and high-quality and fast Internet has been plentiful in Europe during the COVID-19 crisis, governmental institutions are politely coercing digital companies into providing lower quality streaming.

“Not only is this bad public policy, but it demonstrates why it is broadband providers and not government regulators that are best positioned to traffic our online traffic, whether in normal times or times of crisis.

“Hopefully this gives many people pause about supporting further government regulation of the Internet and digital services,” said Ossowski.

www.consumerchoicecenter.org

 

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