Netherlands Passes Net Neutrality Laws

Net neutrality might be a bit of a touchy subject in the United States, but progress is being made in Europe. The Netherlands has become the first country to enact net neutrality laws, preventing ISPs from blocking or slowing down different types of internet traffic. It also stops ISPs from charging extra to access specific websites or services. The legislation was first put forward in June 2011, but just passed into law on Tuesday.

There are some exceptions to the law: ISPs can manage traffic if the network is congested, but otherwise providers are expected to treat all traffic as equal. The Netherlands joins Chile as the second country in the world that has firm net neutrality laws, while other countries are still debating the topic.

In the UK, Ofcom has threatened to impose net neutrality on ISPs if they don't offer more transparency regarding their throttling practises, and in the US several companies have come under fire. Most recently Comcast was scrutinized by net neutrality advocates, as well as Netflix, regarding its Xfinity service. Comcast internet users have a 250GB data cap per month, but the Xfinity video streaming service for Xbox did not count towards that total.

The FCC does have net neutrality rules in place, but they're limited in scope. ISPs can't charge for additional access to competitors services, but they're not restricted from offering faster access to specific services.

[via The Next Web]