EU lawmakers approve plan to kill roaming charges and impose new net neutrality rules

Lawmakers in the European Union have approved some tough new laws for the Union that have to do with eliminating roaming charges and putting new rules in place for net neutrality. Once the final ruling is in, the new rules will go into effect across the entire 28-member European union. While the lawmakers have approved the rules, the proposals still need to be approved by the next European Parliament to be elected next month.

The individual countries in the EU also have to reach an agreement with Parliament and the European Commission on their own version of the law. In short, the new rules still have a way to go before going into effect. What these rules are proposing is the elimination of roaming fees in all EU countries. Perhaps more important than eliminating roaming fees are last minute provisions added that have to do with net neutrality.

These last minute amendments have given a strict definition of net neutrality specifying that telecoms and ISPs can't discriminate between services that run on the data networks. Rules on roaming charges would see the carriers phase out roaming charges in EU countries by the end of next year.

These rules have been fought against by many major carriers in the mobile industry who want the ability to charge companies that use more of their networks more money. Companies using the internet connections fear that if providers are able to charge more for access to some firms only those companies with deep pockets like Google or Microsoft would be able to afford the faster access. A final vote on these regulations is expected to come by the end of 2014.