Tuesday 30 August 2016 5:17 pm

European Union internet regulators rule against two-speed highway in win for open net activists

Europe's biggest telecoms companies were dealt a blow this afternoon by European Union regulators adopting strict net neutrality rules. 

The new guidelines for net neutrality – the idea that all internet traffic should be treated equally – means Europe's internet will not become a so-called two speed highway. 

Under the new rules, laid out by the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (Berec), telecoms companies will only be able to offer so-called specialised services that do not negatively affect internet speeds. 

Read more: Britain’s entrepreneurs can look forward to a better world outside the EU

The guidelines have clarified what were previously thought to be vaguely worded statements that could have been exploited by big telecoms.

Telecoms companies had wanted to boost revenues through services like connectivity for driverless cars and internet-connected devices over dedicated network capacity to ensure a guaranteed level of quality at a premium price. 

Berec has said they can only do so if it is "objectively necessary" and will assess situations on a case-by-case basis. 

Read more: Google, Facebook and Twitter blasted over failure to tackle online extremism

High-quality voice calling on mobile networks, live television delivered over the internet, and remote surgery are all expected to be approved.

The net neutrality rules in the European Union were brought it last year and the guidelines issued today will be used to enforce those rules.  

[custom id="166"]