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Thursday, April 03, 2014
Europe To End Roaming charges By 2016

Today the European Parliament voted to end roaming charges by Christmas 2015, as part of a wider vote in support a proposed regulation for a "Connected Continent".

The "Connected Continent" telecoms regulation was proposed by the European Commission in September 2013. It aims to create a single market for telecoms in the EU, by ending roaming charges, guaranteeing an open internet for all by banning blocking and degrading of content, coordinating spectrum licensing for wireless broadband, giving internet and broadband customers more transparency in their contracts, and making it easier for customers to switch providers.

"This vote is the EU delivering for citizens," said Neelie Kroes, the European commissioner for digital affairs and an ardent advocate for ending the charges.

"This is what the EU is all about - getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive. We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped-off, and we should have the opportunity to change our mind."

The parliament also voted in favor of maintaining "net neutrality", effectively declaring that all traffic on the Internet should be treated equally, regardless of the source or the content.

The decision is a move to limit the ability of network operators to provide quicker Internet access to content providers in exchange for a fee.

The measures will become law after they are approved by the European Council, which represents the EU's member states. After further discussions, the Council is expected to take a decision in October.

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