In a fact sheet on the agreement, the European Commission tries to hide the reality that net neutrality is being destroyed by defining something called the open Internet : “Under today’s agreement, paid prioritisation in the open Internet will be banned. Based on this new legislation, all content and application providers will have guaranteed access to end-users in the open Internet. This access should not be dependent on the will or particular commercial interest of Internet service providers.”
But running alongside this “open Internet,” on the same network, there will be “specialised services,” which are not open and where paid prioritisation is permitted: “The new EU net neutrality rules guarantee the open Internet and enable the provision of specialised or innovative services on condition that they do not harm the open Internet access.” The caveat is vague, and in practice will not prevent “specialised services” competing with those offered on the “open Internet”—the Commission mentions “internet TV” as an example of a specialised service—so large companies will be able to offer premium services at attractive prices, which startups with limited resources will find hard to match.
Nothing’s set in stone just yet:
Calling the details of the deal “blurry” and “ambiguous,” particularly on “specialised services,” Joe McNamee of the digital rights group EDRi wrote today: “This is ‘just’ a provisional agreement. First, the explanatory recitals need to be finalised. Then, the EU institutions need to decide if they are really prepared to create such legal uncertainty for European citizens and business. This will become clear in the coming weeks.”