The European Commission is to monitor the internet industry for any cases of blocking or throttling of internet traffic which may jeopardise net neutrality in the region.
Speaking at the launch of the Commission's long-awaited report on net neutrality, digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes fell short of criticising the operator practice of traffic management.
Kroes argued that, if used correctly, traffic management can provide an important means of ensuring a smooth service for services like video calls, while causing minimal disruption elsewhere.
"I do not like the blocking or degrading of certain services. But if there is such blocking or degradation, the customer needs to be clearly informed in advance so that they can make an informed choice about the operator that gives them what they want," she told a press conference in Brussels on Tuesday.
"It is clearly not OK to block or degrade lawful services by stealth, without informing the customer."
Kroes argued that the Commission and national telecoms regulators would have to verify claims that some ISPs throttle traffic provided by their competitors to degrade the quality of content, and also claimed that some mobile internet providers block VoIP calls.
At the end of 2011, any operators engaging in such practices will be named and shamed, she added.
"I will be looking particularly closely for any instances of unannounced blocking or throttling of certain types of traffic, and any misleading advertising of broadband speeds," said Kroes.
"If I am not satisfied that consumers can counteract such practices by switching providers, I will not hesitate to introduce more stringent measures. That could be in the form of more prescriptive guidance, or even legislation if it is needed."
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