ISPs will be allowed to give favourable treatment to internet TV services providing that this doesn’t come at the expense of the open internet.
The decision comes as part of a package of measures announced through the European Parliament, Council and Commission that also included an end to international roaming charges within the European Union.
The agreement was welcomed by Andrus Ansip, Commission Vice-President for the Digital Single Market: “Europeans have been calling and waiting for the end of roaming charges as well as for net neutrality rules. They have been heard. We still have a lot of work ahead of us to create a Digital Single Market. Our plans to make it happen were fully endorsed by Heads of State and Government last week, and we should move faster than ever on this.”
Under the measures internet access providers will be able to offer specialised services of higher quality, including internet TV, and other so-called innovative applications.
Already operators are giving TV services a more favourable environment. For example, BT Sport viewers receiving the service over IP are not charged against their monthly allowance when on a BT network.
There are also sweetheart deals between operators and some OTT delivered services.
According to Sandvine, the Canadian bandwidth-management systems vendor, Netflix takes 34.5% of primetime internet traffic.