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BEREC and net neutrality

BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) is an association of European national regulatory authorities. BEREC works to promote the single European market for electronic communications and assist the Commission and national regulatory authorities with the implementation of the regulatory framework for electronic communication, "the telecom package".

The regulatory framework from 2009 contains some new provisions relating to net neutrality. These provisions state that the end users must receive sufficient information about the features of the service that is offered ("transparency") and that the national regulatory authorities can set minimum quality of service requirements for network operators to prevent degradation of the service (cf. Article 20, 21 and 22 of the Universal Service Directive).

BEREC's research work is organised into different expert groups (EWG, Expert Working Groups). In 2010 BEREC established a separate working group for net neutrality (Net Neutrality EWG) chaired by the Norwegian Communications Authority (EWG Chair). During the first year, the working group's activities resulted in BEREC's consultation response to the Commission's consultation on the open Internet and net neutrality in Europe.

In the two subsequent years, BEREC has published a series of reports about net neutrality and public consultations concerning this work were held in 2011 and 2012. The results of BEREC's three year study of net neutrality were summarised in an overall description (10 pages) «Summary of BEREC positions on net neutrality». In December the same year BEREC published a statement with observations about net neutrality for ETNO's proposal to the International Telecommunication Union's (ITU) World Conference on International Telecommunications (WCIT 2012)

BEREC's reports concerning net neutrality:

In 2012 BEREC also launched a European "net neutrality barometer" that showed the results of a comprehensive net neutrality study that was carried out in cooperation with the Commission. Among other things, the statistics show that a least 20% of Europeans who use mobile Internet access experience restrictions on the use of Voice over IP. Restrictions vary from country to country.

In the period from 2013-2014 BEREC will continue their work on net neutrality. BERECs work programme describes the focus areas that include studies regarding quality measurement of Internet access and of the importance of consumers to the developments within net neutrality. The study of quality measurement shall look at, among other things, methods and measurement systems to uncover any potential degradation of the Internet service. The study of the role of consumers shall investigate their understanding of net neutrality-related information and the consequences this may have for the choice of provider.