European Parliament Resolution on Net Neutrality Campaign

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This wiki page is about the campaign to get European MPs, the ITRE Committee in particular, to take a strong stand to protect Net Neutrality.
tl;dr : The European Parliament ITRE Committee is working on an oral question and a resolution on Net Neutrality, but these are far too weak to actually protect and guarantee network neutrality, which is why citizens must make themselves heard by their MEPs, and the ITRE Committee in particular, to urge them to take strong engagements.

The ITRE Committee's weak draft resolution on Net Neutrality[edit]

This past April, the Commission (lead by Neelie Kroes) published its (very disappointing) report on Net Neutrality, reaching a conclusion that it is urgent to wait and see. In answer to this report, the European Parliament's ITRE Committee is preparing an written resolution with an oral question, one of the tools the European Parliament (EP) has at its disposal to communicate with the European Commission.

Draft versions of the oral question and the resolution show how tepid they are and don't commit to protecting Net Neutrality.

Although national lawmakers (France, the Netherlands) are increasingly keen on defending Net Neutrality through law, the European Commission seems ready to abandon this principle. Commissioner to the digital agenda Neelie Kroes is willing to give telco operators the possibility of a tiered and discriminated Internet, which would lead to more profitable business models for operators but would harm our fundamental freedoms such as freedom of speech, communication or the possibility of open innovation on the Internet, a basis for the network's incredible potential.

Now, amendments to the resolution have been tabled by different members of the ITRE Committee. Some of these would make the resolution stronger, and therefore help protect Net Neutrality. We have graded all the proposed amendments on this easy to read colour-coded list: Network Neutrality resolution amendments.

An occasion to defend Net Neutrality[edit]

The resolution to be presented by ITRE is still a draft, amendments can change it into a better text: we can make ourselves heard by the members of ITRE and urge them to adopt the good amendments and reject the bad, so as to take a strong stand in favour of this concept fundamental to the Internet, its development and it potential.

It is crucial that members of the European Parliament —the only democratic institution of the EU— make themselves heard on this issue.

European citizens must get in touch with their representatives and ask them to take strong engagements to defend network neutrality by adopting positive amendments to the resolution and voting against those that would make the text weaker than it already is.

How to help[edit]

Be heard, make some noise[edit]

Retweet, repeat, email, blog, and generally speaking call attention to this campaign, explaining what is at stake in this issue, and linking back to this page. Basically, help the buzz to get going as much as possible!

Call members of the ITRE Committee[edit]

As citizens, we must massively call MEPs from the ITRE Committee or their assistants to ask them to take strong engagements to defend Net Neutrality. (Most parliamentary assistants speak English and they often speak French.)

A phone call is the most effective way to get your message across, but if you don't feel like making a phone call, please do write an e-mail!

  • Look at the list of ITRE MEPs, pick one (or more, or all of them!) and click on their name to find their contact details.
  • If you can, before you call, send an email summing up your position, you can use our letter for inspiration.
  • Call the phone number, you will likely reach a parliamentary assistant.

They are bright young people who work with the MEP and will convey to the MEP what you tell them.

  • Start the conversation with the assistant, trying to always be calm and polite.
    • If you find yourself unable to answer a question, do not worry: you are a citizen, you are not necessarily an expert and you are not requested to know everything. Simply answer you will get back to them with an answer, and come chat with us if you need to.

Conversation example[edit]

A conversation can look something like this.

Remember, this is simply an example, always remember to use your own words rather than reading from a text. Being yourself will have more impact!

  • Hi, my name is John/Jane Doe, I'm a citizen from France/the Netherlands/Belgium/etc. and like to talk to Mr/Mrs [MEP Name]. It's about the upcoming Net Neutrality resolution the ITRE Committe will be presenting.
  • I'm sorry, we don't have time / you're the tenth person to call us about this today / we are extremely busy / Mr/Mrs so-and-so is very busy, etc.
  •  I understand, but I am very concerned to see that this resolution doesn't take any strong engagements to defend this fundamental principle, Net Neutrality.
    • You see, if Neutrality is harmed or disappears, it opens way to a tiered Internet which would be the beginning of the end of innovation online and will harm citizens' freedom of expression and equal participation to the online public space.
  • Yes, I understand, but network operators also need to manage their networks how they see fit.
  • I agree telco operators do need to manage their networks, but it can and must be done without harming Net Neutrality. It simply is not acceptable for operators to have their way with a principle that is a guarantee of innovation and free speech online, it simply is too important.
    • I think Mr/Mrs MEP should/needs to/must commit to having the resolution:
      • Acknowledge the looming threats on Net neutrality in Europe and their risk for innovation, competition and freedoms online;
      • Recognise the inadequacy of the provisions of the 2009 Telecoms Package to protect Net neutrality. Neither Minimal Quality of Service nor Transparency are sufficient tools to address this pressing issue.
      • Call on the Commission and Council to support the adoption of a EU-wide legislation on Net neutrality which would ban discriminatory traffic management practices and create sanctions against violations of this principle.
    • Furthermore, good amendments to the resolution have been tabled, I would like to encourage Mr/s MEP to vote in favour of the best of them. I can send you a list of these amendments by email.
  • Ok, thank you, I'll tell her/him about it.
  • Thank you very much, please don't hesitate to get back in touch with me if you need more information or to talk this issue over!
  • We'll keep that in mind…
  • Thank you for taking the time to listen to me, have a nice day!

If the MEP's office doesn't answer, don't give up! You can call back again (they do have lunch, for instance), and don't forget you can send an email summing up your reasons for being worried and your arguments.

List of the good amendments[edit]

See also the press-release on calling for support to these amendments.

Answer to counter-arguments against Net Neutrality[edit]

  • Network operators need to manages the traffic on their networks to provide customers proper service.
    • This can perfectly be done without going against Network Neutrality. The only cases where it can be acceptable to temporarily make the network non-neutral is in cases of unpredictable and temporary network congestion or attack on the network, and only in these precise cases.
  • Operators need to develop new business models to develop new networks.
    • Attacks on Net Neutrality actually endanger investments in fibre and very high bandwidth infrastructures by allowing operators to use network saturation to their advantage and sell premium “high-priority” plans. Net Neutrality is the best incentive to make sure infrastructures grow accordingly.

Need a little help and courage?[edit]

If you've never called your MEP before, don't hesitate to come by the chat to talk it over with other people and build up confidence ! (To chat, you can also see our IRC how-to.)

It isn't as hard as one would imagine, and it has a much bigger impact than one tends to think!

We're counting on you! :)