The Dutch parliament on Wednesday passed a law banning telecommunications providers from charging their subscribers extra fees for Internet services such as Skype and instant messaging.
The law is intended to preserve open access to the Internet at a time when some mobile operators in Europe are blocking or charging extra for specific voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) services including Skype and instant messaging such as WhatsApp, used on Apple’s iPhone.
“Blocking these types of services or placing an extra charge on them curbs innovation. That is not good for the economy. We are now going to regulate that with the Parliament. That way we’ll guarantee an open Internet,” Economy Minister Maxime Verhagen said.
The Netherlands would be one of the first countries in the world to legislate open access to the Internet if the law is also enacted by the Dutch Senate or upper house.
The legislation also imposes stricter regulations on the use by websites of so-called cookies, which collect data about a consumer’s Internet use and personal preferences. The data can be used for more focused online advertising.
"Dutch Pass Law to Ensure Open Internet Access"
Gary Price (email@example.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.