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Neelie Kroes unveils Net Neutrality plan for Europe, aims to end mobile roaming fees in 2014

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neelie kroes
neelie kroes

While travellers in Europe are enjoying lower roaming fees across the continent, the European Commission (EC) believes that isn't enough. As part of new legislation, its vice president Neelie Kroes today unveiled new plans to end mobile roaming, and for the first time, guarantee net neutrality. Kroes' legislative package is aimed at uniting European carriers, offering a single telecoms market by next year.

Kroes will deliver the package to the European Parliament today, arguing that a single telecoms market will benefit Europe by boosting the digital economy, in turn establishing political connections. The EC executive believes "digital dividends can bring social ones." Kroes' home country — The Netherlands — became the first EU nation to pass net neutrality laws in May 2012. While Kroes is intent on establishing support for the package, she is mindful that it might not give everyone "everything you dreamed of," adding that it will "have to strike a sensitive balance if we are to agree it quickly." The hope is that the package can be signed and presented by Easter 2014.

Kroes says she has already gathered support from the "highest levels in institutions." With a single telecoms market, the EC wants to end consumers' roaming frustrations and encourage companies to invest in the European mobile infrastructure, and it already has the support of many European governments.