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Court of Justice of the European Union protected the legal principle of ''net neutrality''



Court of Justice of European Union considered compatibility of ''zero ratings'' tariff with EU Net neutrality regulation no. 2015/2120, in Telenor Magyarország Zrt./Nemzeti Média- és Hírközlési Hatóság Elnöke case.


Net neutrality has become an increasingly important issue for both internet service providers (“ISPs”) and internet users. To address this issue, the European Union enacted the Net Neutrality Regulation, which entered into force in 2016. In general, net neutrality legal principle grants end-users ''...the right to access and distribute information and content, use and provide applications and services…via their internet access service...”. Therefore, internet service providers may not limit end-users’ access and distribution rights through agreements and commercial practices, so internet traffic must be treated equally.


In Telenor Magyarország Zrt./Nemzeti Média- és Hírközlési Hatóság Elnöke case, Court of Justice discussed the legality of the practice known as “zero rating”, which typically involves an Internet service provider excluding use of certain applications and services from customers’ data consumption limits, and delivered the decision that this practice is not in accordance with EU Net neutrality regulations.


In its' press release, Court of justice explained the decision with following arguments:

''...such service packages may extend the use of specific applications and services and, consequently, reduce the use of other available applications and services, taking into account measures that make the latter technically difficult or impossible for the Internet service provider. In addition, the greater the number of clients entering into such agreements, the more cumulative the impact of those agreements may, given its scale, lead to a significant restriction on the exercise of end-user rights, ie question the very essence of these rights...''


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