Dutch Torpedo KPN’s Plans to Charge Skype, Others

June 23rd, 2011 by · Leave a Comment

Last month, in the face of disappointing financials that it blamed on customers’ ability to use internet apps in place of SMS messaging and other evils, KPN seemed to declare its intention to impose charges on the interlopers.  I opined that KPN was preparing to piss into the wind, but I didn’t actually expect the politicians to move this fast.

Legislators in the Netherlands have moved to pass a law prohibiting mobile operators from doing exactly that, making them the first in Europe to enshrine network neutrality in law.  While network neutrality seems to have won the day for the most part with wired networks, mobile operators have different economics and regulators have been unwilling to explicitly hamstring an industry they are trying to encourage.

But politicians, on the other hand, only really care about votes in the end, and thus KPN’s threat gave them a casus belli.  And that should serve as a warning to carriers elsewhere – better stick to complaining about over-regulation and potential traffic swamping for now.  Politicians here in the USA don’t seem ready to do anything similar.  But if a major carrier were to make the same threat I’ll bet that could change quickly, especially with an election in the offing.

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Categories: Government Regulations · Internet Traffic

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