A consultation carried out by the European Commission has revealed widespread concerns about the effects of net neutrality, traffic management and bandwidth throttling on the future of networks.
The three-month consultation (PDF) drew 318 responses from ISPs, operators, consumer groups, civil organisations and the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications.
While some argued that traffic management will be vital to the provision of secure and efficient networks, most responses said that open networks need to be maintained to stop the delivery of certain services being favoured over others.
There was also an argument that network management could lead to privacy concerns owing to the possible use of packet inspection software.
Another area of concern was the risk of service providers throttling bandwidth, or blocking certain services such as VoIP.
Frédéric Donck, director of the Internet Society's European Regional Bureau, maintained that a level playing field is essential to the delivery of an open internet.
"We believe that competition should facilitate an innovative digital economy. But that might not be enough," he said.
"While there are many criteria for defining real and effective competition, among the most important is transparency in service offerings so that users have a choice of ISPs and are able to make their choices based on informed decisions. "
The European Union will debate the issues at a Net Neutrality Summit on 11 November.
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