The European Parliament just approved a proposed Regulation concerning Net Neutrality and roaming in the EU, applicable to all Member States. Apparently, the Net Neutrality rules will apply from April 2016 forward. I’ll ignore roaming for the purposes of this post.
Broadly speaking, as with the FCC’s rules in the U.S., Sandvine’s Business Intelligence and Network Security suites are unaffected. In fact, an argument could be made that network operators may need more Business Intelligence in order to meet some of the transparency requirements of the Regulations.
“Reasonable network management” is allowed in Europe, with “reasonable” meaning transparent, non-discriminatory, proportionate, and for a technical (not commercial) purpose, such as temporary or exceptional network congestion. If applied this way, a traffic management policy can be focused on a “class” of traffic (e.g., VoIP), but not on specific offerings within that class (e.g., Skype). Traffic management should not go on longer than necessary. In all, not too different than the U.S. rules.
The Regulation is silent on Zero Rating and Paid Prioritization, but the European Commission (distinct from the European Parliament) takes the position that Paid Prioritization is disallowed because traffic management must be based on technical, not commercial, considerations. Seems like a reasonable position. Zero rating is less clear because there is not typically any traffic management occurring at all. Again, these positions seem to be quite similar to those in the U.S. Some articles suggest that the Regulations open the door to more Zero Rating in Europe.
Sandvine has always been for Net Neutrality, as long as it is well defined and reasonable. So far, that seems to be the case. Of course, in both Europe and the U.S., the devil will be in the details as the rules and regulations are tested over time to determine their ultimate meaning.