“This vote is the EU delivering for citizens,” says Neelie Kroes, the EC vp who led the charge for abolition, “this is what the EU is all about – getting rid of barriers to make life easier and less expensive. We should know what we are buying, we should not be ripped-off.”
The European Parliament also voted for the principle of net neutrality which means operators cannot charge differently, or provide different levels of service, for different kinds of content or different users of the Internet.
Naturally the operators are upset by the vote and their pressure group ETNO says it will inhibit the growth of a strong, jobs-providing, mobile telecoms industry.
Operators would love to be able to charge rich users like Facebook and Google a premium rate for providing a superior service, or charge users higher rates for bandwidth-greedy usage such as streaming video.
Cynics say the vote was strategically timed for a couple of months before the European Parliamentary elections. This vote will give sitting candidates something to brag about in their re-election campaigns.
The vote has to be approved by the European Council which will decide the issue in October.