Skype has called on the European Union (EU) to rethink its current inclination to restrict the openness of the internet, and to support net neutrality in the same way as the US and Canada.
Discussions on net neutrality have taken place at the European Union level as part of a reform of the Telecoms Rules of 2002.
The Swedish presidency governing EU affairs recently limited debate on the issue, effectively deciding that European broadband operators should be allowed to restrict access to services and applications at their discretion, which came as a blow to Europe's net neutrality supporters.
However, Skype has now issued a new report arguing that the EU's abuse of net neutrality has been long running, pointing to how its own services have been blocked by a number of mobile operators across several EU countries for a long time, as have thousands of other VoIP and peer-to-peer applications.
Skype maintains that, while innovators and users of VoIP and peer-to-peer services have protested, they have faced a difficult time standing up to the large telecoms operators.
"The fact that politicians haven't heard about their problems is because these guys are just too small. They don't have armies of lobbyists like the big operators do," said Jean-Jacques Sahel, leader of Skype's government relations team in the EU.
Sahel said he was aware that the European Commission had circulated draft legislation on protecting net neutrality and will make recommendations to the Parliament by the end of 2010. However, Sahel said that he was disappointed by the EU's lack of action since.
"We've seen no action by the European authorities to stamp out these blatant abuses of what internet users can do online. The excuse that net neutrality is an American problem just doesn't wash anymore. It's too convenient and simply not true," he said.
"The thousands of innovators that depend on an open internet to continue to innovate and put their products, applications, services and content online cannot wait years for lengthy political debates to take place.
"Users cannot wait either, before they can freely use what they have paid for: full internet access whether fixed or mobile."
Skype pointed out that, while the EU has been clamping down on internet freedoms, the US has been moving in the opposite direction.
The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced plans last week to restrict internet service providers from discriminating against legal traffic from content providers.
The FCC maintained that network neutrality should be protected to ensure that all online content providers have an equal footing and to maintain current levels of internet innovation.
The Canadian authorities, meanwhile, issued a framework last Wednesday so that regulators can easily judge whether service providers are discriminating against certain kinds of traffic and content.
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