European and Indian regulators team up to defend net neutrality

Representatives of Europe’s BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications) and India’s TRAI (Telecom Regulatory Authority of India) met up yesterday to sign a joint statement to promote an open internet.

This short document describes a set of rules to guarantee net neutrality. Those are some basic rules, such as equal treatment of internet traffic, a case-by-case assessment of zero-rating practices and more.

Both the European Union and India have implemented regulation to ensure net neutrality already. But they now want to go further and work together on the same set of rules. Net neutrality is always evolving and rules need to be updated regularly. This collaboration should contribute to a unification of net neutrality.

Even more important than the statement itself, the timing of this announcement is interesting. The FCC officially repealed net neutrality in the U.S. on Monday. While other regulators can’t do anything about what’s happening in the U.S., they can make sure net neutrality remains intact in their own country.

There’s a risk that the FCC decision triggers a domino effect. Telecom companies in other countries could lobby regulators to end net neutrality (the U.S. has done it, so why not us?).

As ARCEP president Sébastien Soriano told me a few months ago, it’s time to show that there’s another way. And the best way to do it is by forming a group of countries and regulators who share the same principles. With India and the European Union, a good chunk of the world population is now clearly defending net neutrality.

Other countries could now join this alliance and prove that net neutrality is important for innovation, competition and end customers.