It appears that the European Commission are making good on their promise to end roaming charges within the EU and ‘guarantee an open Internet’. It will seek to write net neutrality in the law so that everyone who uses the Internet within the EU can expect to be treated ‘equally and fairly’ where traffic is concerned, and not be subject to any data throttling or paid prioritisation (e.g. no fast lanes).
An end to roaming charges in the EU is due to happen by 15 June 2017, and means that regardless of where you travel within the EU, you would be paying the same price for calls and data as you would back home. It’s pretty similar to Three’s ‘Feel At Home’ deal, however, in order to protect from people abusing the system, and getting cheaper deals abroad, there will be a fair use cap, and once you have gone over this allowance telecoms providers will be able to enforce a basic fee.
Speaking of which, from April 2016 operators will be limited to the following maximum roaming charges: €0.20 per MB, €0.06 per SMS and €0.05 per minute, which should be sufficient to tide people over until the new no-roaming charges rules come into play.
In regards to the net neutrality rules, these will come into effect around the same time as the interim capped roaming charge measures in April 2016. One thing to consider is that this ‘fairer Internet’ will still be subject to providers being able to section off a part of their service for ‘self developed innovation services’, so in a manner of speaking, even though this isn’t the much feared ‘fast lane’ type service that net neutrality protects against, a two tier system will still be in play, which might annoy those that want a truly open Internet.
Anyway, all we can do until then is wait until April 2016 and June 2017 arrive for us to enjoy these more liberating features, however, depending on how things go with the referendum on the UK membership of the EU in 2017, it’s anyone’s guess how things may turn out for us Brits!
Source: European Commission