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Europe

EU agrees new law on roaming and net neutrality

media Reuters

The European Union has struck a deal to get rid of mobile phone roaming charges in 2017 in Brussels on Tuesday. European citizens will not be charged extra to use their phones in all countries within the EU beginning 15 June 2017. They also agreed upon the first net neutrality rules for the EU.

Telephone companies have lobbied against the agreement and will be allowed to apply a “fair use policy” to prevent “abusive” use of roaming, a statement from the European Council said.

An example of this would be purchasing a SIM card in a country with cheaper pricing so that the phone is permanently roaming in your home country. The EU previously reached a deal that capped prices at .05 euros per minute in a call, .02 euros per text message and .05 euros per megabyte of data. This capped pricing will begin in April 2016.

The agreement also outlined the first rules protecting open internet in the EU. Known as “net neutrality,” these rules will make sure that all internet traffic is treated equally across all internet service providers.

The new net neutrality laws protect customers from companies charging more for faster connections or allowing big companies to have faster sites, according to the European Commission. This gives companies and customers equal access to the internet and bans paid prioritisation.

These are the first net neutrality laws that will apply across the entire European Union.

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