Today’s Opinion: Net neutrality

POSTED: 05/24/11 1:27 PM

The Second Chamber is coming down on internet providers with evil plans to squeeze their customers. The parliament passed a motion to guarantee net neutrality. This means that internet providers are not allowed to block certain internet services, or to charge for them.

Telecom provider KPN has plans to charge customers who use internet telephone providers like Skype extra, but the parliament does not want to hear about it.

KPN sees its own phone business tanking under the influence of Skype. Calls from Skype to Skype are free worldwide and this obviously hurts the business of traditional international phone calls.

The initiative to prohibit telecom operators from charging extra for these services comes from GreenLeft. The motion got an unexpected majority, because the Freedom Party supported it. It is the first crack in the party’s support for the minority government of VVD and CDA. Telecom Minister Maxime Verhagen had expressed a willingness to accommodate the internet providers.

Net neutrality is also important for users in St. Maarten. When providers see their phone-related revenue decrease under the influence of providers like Skype they might be tempted to pick up on the idea of their Dutch brethren. A nice topic to keep an eye on for our Members of Parliament.


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