Berners-Lee: EU Should Ban Zero Rating

World Wide Web pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee has joined with others on an open letter to European regulators and lawmakers warning them they have four days to save the open Internet in Europe, including by banning zero rating plans.

Berners-Lee was weighing in before the end of the public comment period (July 18) on guidelines on implementing and applying EU net neutrality law, which the European Parliament adopted last fall, pointing to what he and others saw as loopholes that it was crucial to close.

In the letter (, Berners-Lee, joined by professors Lawrence Lessig (Harvard) and Barbara Van Schewick (Stanford), said there were four key areas the EU needs to get right, which tracked fairly closely with the FCC's Open Internet rules, adopted last year. 

1. "Ban Fast Lanes: Regulators need to close a loophole that could allow carriers to offer special “fast lanes” to normal websites and applications for a fee.

2. "Ban Zero-rating: Regulators need to ban harmful forms of zero-rating.

3. "Ban Discrimination: Regulators need to prevent carriers from discriminating among classes of traffic to manage their networks.

4. "Protect Internet Access: Regulators need to prohibit new “specialized” services from taking over bandwidth that people bought to access the Internet.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.