0 Theme: Consumer protection Network Spectrum Tariffs and Choice Author: April 29, 2015

Net neutrality: what if we all pulled together with no bickering?

Base Company is one of the staunchest promoters of a free open Internet!

Internet with no fetters, to be used by one and all: who could say no to that?

Internet enabling all of us to take up any offer we want: the future.

The net neutrality debate has been arousing passions for some years now, and has in fact heightened the opposing viewpoints of the three main links in the Internet value chain: users, contents providers in the broad sense, and fixed and mobile Internet access providers. The three seem to have locked horns in the net neutrality debate, even though all three are independent of each other. No Internet access providers, no Internet; no content, no creation of Internet richness; and if there are no users, Internet loses its entire raison d`être. So why all the bickering, when in fact we should act in unison to make open Internet a continuous source of innovation for all three groups.

BASE Company believes in an open Internet

As we have already stated on numerous occasions, BASE Company is in favour of net neutrality. Internet has been an open concept since the very beginning, and has helped create this ecosystem of unrivalled richness, new innovative features and new treasures for society.

In recent years, however, users have been concerned by a possible deviation by operators, restricting or limiting the openness of Internet. Sure enough, like any other industry, telecommunications operators have no wish to play a role as mere connectors. They want to offer to retail and corporate customers new services to heighten their experiences. All consumers, not to mention corporate customers, have needs and desires, different necessities requiring different offers. But it must be made clear that the different offers cannot create discriminations among users or slow down contents, or degrade open Internet as it stands today.

An EU Regulation introducing the net neutrality principle in Europe

In September 2014, the European Commission submitted its draft EU “Telecom Single Market” Regulation, with several articles on net neutrality. It is now being debated by the European Parliament, the European Council and the Commission. On the basis of the latest versions, BASE Company supports the text, because it allows operators to create innovation and offer new services to consumers and also to professional customers, each requiring a service suited to their needs and financial capacity, with no negative discrimination among the services.

An EU Regulation will harmonise the European market so that operators will not be faced with 28 different national laws, allowing all operators – and also all stakeholders, consumer associations, public groups, copyright organisations, authorities – to act in accordance with a single Regulation applicable to the entire European Union. On this basis, everyone can claim their rights, and no one can be left out or be deprived of their right to mobile or fixed Internet access.

All players in the Internet chain

This is why BASE Company is calling for the EU Regulation to be implemented, with one of its principles that of net neutrality. Net neutrality to the benefit of one and all. Creating innovation, preventing discrimination, encouraging freedom of expression, enabling everyone to offer new ideas or new services. And enabling all players in the Internet chain – consumers, operators, creators of content, be they small, large, or just starting out, and service providers – to use the medium to innovate.

As with any immature industry, because we are as yet unaware of its potential and its development, many queries may be posed concerning Internet, especially with regard to the role operators can or wish to play in it. All they want to do is offer connections to their customers and offer them increasingly innovative services. If they were thinking of failing to meet their obligations, the Belgian regulator could step in to remind them of their task. It has an entire arsenal to prevent any such action to impair the open Internet, pending a European Regulation based on the same principles, to harmonise all these provisions across the entire European Union.

BASE Company wishes to offer free, open, discrimination-free mobile Internet to all its customers, providing them with specific services in accordance with their needs. Free open Internet must not prevent imagination and innovation.

 

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