Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner for the Digital Agenda, has announced plans to launch a public consultation to "progress Europe's net neutrality debate".
Kroes argued in a speech at the Arcep conference in Paris yesterday that fears across Europe were "numerous", and covered a range of issues, from governmental Big Brother-like interference, to whether there is a need for an internet governance body.
Issues that she said need adressing include whether internet service providers should be allowed to prioritise certain types of internet traffic, whether traffic management should be more transparent, and whether greater regulation or more investment in "new and open networks" would help matters.
"This debate is still at an early stage in Europe. This is probably because our regulatory framework, and the competitive investments that it fostered, meant that we have not been so immediately confronted with these tough choices as in some other jurisdictions," she said.
"Of course, we need to anticipate potential problems. However, as we do so, we must also avoid over-hasty regulatory intervention."
Kroes said that the European Commission is carefully monitoring the impact of market and technological developments on net neutrality, and will report to the European Parliament and the Council by the end of the year.
In addition, the public consultation on European net neutrality will be launched before summer.
"I think that we should avoid giving rushed answers before having carefully examined the potential problems, if any, and the more appropriate and proportionate solutions," she said.
"In particular, I think that we should avoid taking unnecessary measures which may hinder new efficient business models from emerging."
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