BEREC Opinion for the evaluation of the application of Regulation (EU) 2015/2120 and the BEREC Net Neutrality Guidelines
In general, BEREC concludes that the application of both the Open Internet Regulation and the BEREC Net Neutrality Guidelines is working well. It is clear that both the Regulation and the Guidelines could be considered as striking a balance between the views of many stakeholders. From their inputs, BEREC observes that some stakeholders (for example ISPs) would like the BEREC NN Guidelines to be less stringent while others (for example consumer organisations) argue that the BEREC NN Guidelines should be more stringent.
Nevertheless, BEREC concludes that the Guidelines could, after their application during the first two years, be clarified in certain instances. This will be done in 2019, with the regular involvement of stakeholders via a written consultation on a draft version of updated Guidelines. This Opinion focuses on the major points eligible for clarification; it does not contain a comprehensive list of subjects on which the Guidelines could be clarified.
In this Opinion BEREC provides several conclusions, and highlights the following three due to their specific relevance:
- On commercial practices
No substantive changes are needed to the current text of the Guidelines. However, BEREC considers that some further clarifications could be provided so that consistency in the application of the Regulation by NRAs continues to be ensured in the future.
- On emerging 5G technologies
According to BEREC’s current understanding and analysis, the Regulation seems to be leaving considerable room for the implementation of 5G technologies, such as network slicing, 5QI and Mobile Edge Computing. To date, BEREC is not aware of any concrete example given by stakeholders where the implementation of 5G technology as such would be impeded by the Regulation. As with all other technologies, the specific use of 5G technologies must be assessed on a case-by-case basis under the Regulation. BEREC invites stakeholders to engage in informal dialogue with NRAs if stakeholders experience uncertainty about whether a specific use of a 5G technology complies with the Regulation. In 2019, BEREC will continue its regulatory assessment of 5G in a report due in Q4. This may include further developing regulatory assessment of 5G technologies in relation to net neutrality beyond this Opinion.
- On the consistent application of the Regulation
With the clarification of the Guidelines in 2019, BEREC will continue to strive for consistency in the application of the Regulation. It intends to do so by clarifying the Guidelines where necessary, and by providing a step-by-step assessment methodology for zero-rating cases.