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Why Net Neutrality Matters?

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Net neutrality is an essential safeguard for competition, innovation, and fundamental freedoms. The debate is high in the US with the announce of FCC non discrimination principles (even if they sound irremediably bound to the interests of Hollywood industry). In the EU, the "Telecoms Package" has been the ground of intense debates on the issue. Dangerous provisions were voted, yet a very high level of awareness was raised, giving hope into further positive outcome of the debate. Why one shall care? What one can do about it? What is Net neutrality? Why is it crucial for the future of our online societies? What is the current state of Net neutrality legislation in the EU? What campaigns from civil societies, with what results? What will be the next steps? Net neutrality has been an indispensable catalyst of competition, innovation, and fundamental freedoms in the digital environment. A neutral Internet ensures that users face no conditions limiting access to applications and services. Likewise, it rules out any discrimination against the source, destination or actual content of the information transmitted over the network. Thanks to this principle, our society collectively built the Internet as we know it today. Except in some authoritarian regimes, everyone around the globe has access to the same Internet, and even the smallest entrepreneurs are on equal footing with the leading global enterprises. Moreover, Net neutrality stimulates the virtuous circle of a development model based on the growth of a common communication network that enables new uses and tools, as opposed to one relying on investments in filtering and controlling. Only under such conditions is Internet continuously improving our societies, enhancing freedom — including the freedom of expression and communication — and allowing for more efficient and creative markets. However, Net neutrality is now under the threat of telecom operators and content industries that see business opportunities in discriminating, filtering or prioritizing information flowing through the network. All around Europe, these kind of discriminatory practices, detrimental to both consumers and innovation, are emerging. No court or regulator seems to have adequate tools to counter these behaviors and preserve the general interest. Some provisions introduced in the EU "Telecoms Package" could even encourage such practices. We who build, use and love the Internet must be aware and active to protect it.

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