Net neutrality and audiovisual services

Part of book or chapter of book English OPEN
van Eijk, N. ; Nikoltchev, S. (2011)
  • Publisher: European Audiovisual Observatory

Net neutrality is high on the European agenda. New regulations for the communication sector provide a legal framework for net neutrality and need to be implemented on both a European and a national level. The key element is not just about blocking or slowing down traffic across communication networks: the control over the distribution of audiovisual services constitutes a vital part of the problem. In this contribution, the phenomenon of net neutrality is described first. Next, the European and American contexts are dealt with. The impact for audiovisual services is sketched in the analysis, including the question of whether net neutrality is a new phenomenon and whether parallels can be drawn with previous issues. In the conclusion, we refer to the necessity of seeing net neutrality as a value chain issue. In addition, existing and future regulatory intervention needs to take a more concrete approach to net neutrality.
  • References (34)
    34 references, page 1 of 4

    1) Nico van Eijk is professor in Media and Telecommunications Law at the Institute for Information Law (IViR, University of Amsterdam ( )).

    2) T. Wu, Network Neutrality, Broadband Discrimination, 2 J. on Telecomm. and High Tech. L. 141, 2003. (; also:

    3) FCC Policy Statement on Network Neutrality FCC 05-151, adopted 5 August 2005.

    7) More detailed information about the technical aspects of net neutrality can be found in the following study (Marcus et al, 2011): J. Scott Marcus, P. Nooren, J. Cave & K.R. Carter, Network Neutrality: Challenges and responses in the EU and in the U.S., European Parliament, 2011 (

    8) In 2008 the European Commission started an investigation on the use of DPI technology in the context of behavioural targeting (IP/09/570). More recently, the use of DPI by the Dutch telco-incumbent KPN raised concerns. Nevertheless, DPI seems to be an established practice, also in the context of video distribution (


    10) Directive 2002/21/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on a common regulatory framework for electronic communications networks and services (Framework Directive) OJ L 108/33 (24 April 2002); Directive 2002/19/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on access to, and interconnection of, electronic communications networks and associated facilities (Access Directive) OJ L 108/7 (24 April 2002); Directive 2002/20/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on the authorisation of electronic communications networks and services (Authorisation Directive) OJ L 108/21 (24 April 2002); Directive 2002/22/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 7 March 2002 on universal service and users' rights relating to electronic communications networks and services (Universal Service Directive) OJ L 108/51 (24 April 2002) and Directive 2002/58/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 12 July 2002 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications or e-privacy directive) OJ L 201/37 (31 July 2002).

    11) Amendments to the Framework Directive and the Universal Service Directive: Directive 2009/136/EC of 25 November 2009, OJ L 337/11 (18 December 2009) (“Citizens' Rights Directive”) and Directive 2009/140/EC of 25 November 2009, OJ L 337/37 (18 December 2009) (“Better Regulation Directive”) .

    12) Article 8.4 , sub g, Directive 2002/21/EC (Framework Directive): “(..) The national regulatory authorities shall promote the interests of the citizens of the European Union by inter alia: (..) (g) promoting the ability of end-users to access and distribute information or run applications and services of their choice; (..)”.

    13) Citizens' Rights Directive, Recital 28.

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