Trying To Limit Net Access, Dutch Telcos Accidentally Force Government To Speak Out On Net Neutrality

from the backfire? dept

Although the below image has been circulating the internet as a satirical warning for some time now, Dutch telco KPN recently announced that it’s actually going to implement something like this due to declining revenue. The company stated that starting this summer it will be blocking chat-messaging applications such as WhatsApp (competes with SMS), VoIP services (competes with calls) and heavy streaming services. All these services will get their own price tag, just like what is currently the case with calling and text messaging. The problem with that logic of course is that calling and SMS are actually different services that the telco offers; but in the case of creating pay packages for internet services, probably none of the services are from the telco itself. Some other telcos, such as Vodafone, already stated that it, too, is interested in plans like these (Vodafone is already blocking VoIP and selling access to VoIP services for 5 EUR per month).

Unfortunately for KPN, this plan might actually backfire. The majority of the Dutch parliament has spoken out against the plans and have urged the Minister to protect net neutrality. Currently the Dutch Telecommunications Law does not provide a good safe harbor for net neutrality, but it soon might… because of this. One parliament member who is part of a ruling coalition party even suggested that if telcos are going to charge more for usage, perhaps the tariffs for normal phone calls should be lowered. Sadly, the Minister is less outspoken and has claimed that “mobile internet is really something different than an internet connection at home”.

It will be interesting to see what happens next. Will service providers like Wikipedia start charging telcos for “using their content for free?” Will Skype start demanding royalties? As we’ve said before: “it’s a pipedream for […] some mobile operators, but the likelihood of it actually becoming the norm seems pretty damn low.”

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Companies: kpn

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Comments on “Trying To Limit Net Access, Dutch Telcos Accidentally Force Government To Speak Out On Net Neutrality”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

the competition is T-mobile (massive network outage last year due to iPhone data usage) and Vodafone. Other players are basically the same companies rebranded: Telfort is KPN, Ben is T-Mobile and so on.

They both basically said: hm, good idea KPN let’s implement this too! Which means that the argument of: let’s move elsewhere if you don’t like it, isn’t going to work.

Worst thing: KPN had a reported 5,8 billion euros profit last year and their former CEO (just left) had a big interview in which he stressed the importance of open access/net neutrality.

how quickly things change.

Not an Electronic Rodent says:

Oooo look... dinosaurs

Yet another well thought through “DRM implementation”. Trying to block something for which there are dozens of technical work-arounds and the main thing you’ll accomplish by doing it is annoying the hell out of your customers and make them go somewhere else.
Well done! Bravo sir! *claps politely*

Steve R. (profile) says:

The Freedom to "Steal"

This highlights the shallowness of those who claim that net-neutrality regulation is not needed. Despite all the rhetoric concerning the benefits of “freedom” of an unregulated internet, the real “freedom” will be the ability of the ISPs to manipulate the data-stream for their benefit. Customer rights, none. With this so-called “freedom”, there will be NO neutral net.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: The Freedom to "Steal"

It needs to be stressed that net neutrality is the wrong argument. If there were more competition, it wouldn’t matter who did this, because customers would quickly find other carriers for their phones.

The net neutrality is a non-issue. It’s just a fact that this type of process wouldn’t work, if the government didn’t grant any type of monopoly for cell phone carriers.

kryptonianjorel (profile) says:

Re: Re: The Freedom to "Steal"

How do you expect there to be more competition in the cellular market? There is a HUGE cost of entry to the cell provider business, not to mention it would take 10 years to build out a network to compete with what the current providers have today, let alone what they’ll have in 10 years. This isn’t a government caused problem.

At the end of the day, corporations will throw their users under a bus if it means higher profits. Net neutrality protects consumers from this.

Christopher (profile) says:

Hopefully, this will wake up people

All over the world who will immediately start pushing for net-neutrality laws everywhere that FORBID ISP’s from doing anything to degrade any service and make them have to provide their service 24/7 with NO data caps.

I have no problem with the speeds I get being decreased so that the network isn’t ‘clogged’ by me using it 24/7. I have a big problem with ISP’s who try to cap my bandwidth just because to them, I am using ‘too much’.

Ralph-J (profile) says:

Net Neutrality also protects website operators

Would you trust your Internet provider(s) to “approve” just the right websites and services for you? Can you be certain that your favorite website will still be available in a couple of months, even if the ISP had just discovered that the bandwidth to that website had increased?

What might be a nuisance to end users (some websites becoming unavailable), is at the same time a serious threat to website operators. While Google may be able to pay big ISPs for the right to be included in their bandwidth bundles, smaller websites and services may not.

Every new website or internet start-up has to secure funding, build up a user base etc. Just imagine if they also had to negotiate with hundreds of Internet service providers and mobile carriers around the world, just for the “right” to provide its services to end users…

Greevar (profile) says:

When will they learn?

When will they realize that their not going to win trying to force their obsolete communication models? There isn’t going to be a TV/Phone/Cable network anymore, they’re inferior and outdated. There will only be the internet and people will be using what-the-hell-ever applications and devices they want to use on it. They can’t continue to pretend that they can divide up all of the different types of media to irrelevant networks when it all can run on one overall communications infrastructure. This just wreaks of desperation to maintain the kind of business model they’ve grown fat on.

The internet is here and it supersedes every other network that has been conceived before it. They days of being the gateway between the customers and the network is over. They are the facilitators, not the owner of the networks. The only way to stay relevant is to provide affordable, open, and unlimited access to people the way they demand it. Their mentality is akin to blocking roads for certain types of traffic and charging them more to access “high capacity” roads when the public roads do the job much better.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: They have learned, when will we learn?

What do you think the ICE domain seizures, 3 strikes laws the US has written for other countries, swat raids on unsecured wifi router owners, wikileaks, and similar ‘ops’ are about?

The government is trying to ‘govern’ the internet, and since they can’t just grant a monopoly to themselves (like they do with Cable, Teleco, drugs, banks, movies, music, etc), they have to try to do it with FUD, deception, deceit, and underhanded tactics that force small changes in people’s thinking (ooh no, if I don’t secure my wi-fi router, SWAT may come busting through my front door and throw me down the stairs based on what one of my neighbors did..). The small changes will get bigger as their ‘ops’ escalate in scale.

I hope I’m wrong, but I can’t help thinking this is all part of some bigger plan that we the sheeple are just walking into without really understanding (kind of like ACTA)….

Ed C. says:

Re: Re: They have learned, when will we learn?

Actually, it’s the content producers who are pulling the strings there. Very little of this has to do with the government overreaching for it’s own sake. Not only are producers pushing for ISPs to give them free IP enforcement, but they’re trying to force everyone to pay them every time money is made from their IP. If these “tiered content” plans go though, the producers will eventually demand a cut of the action. If the producers get their way and make ISPs IP cops, all the producers have to do is cry that ISPs are “enabling piracy” (not paying up). It’ll end up with “exclusive” deals where only the producers’ “select partners” (ISPs that pay up) will even be able to offer anything that allows access to their IP at all.

Find The Missing (profile) says:

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Your choice from over 5,000 additional premium websites for only $1.99 and get free local shopping and special deals near you.

(Does not apply to out of country websites, local websites with out of country content, political websites not authorized in our directory, websites listed on the NSABBL. For adult content sites, please see our current list here.)

Lisa Westveld (profile) says:

Things are worse!

KPN recently admitted that it does a Deep Packet Inspection on all mobile communications to “improve their services”. Unfortunately, this also happens to be illegal in the Netherlands. And in Europe! It’s a real bad privacy violation which will probably cost them a lot of customers and possibly more in damages…
KPN is trying to downplay the whole thing, many organisations including Bits of Freedom ( are making the whole thing more public and are advising every client of KPN to file complaints at their local police office.
I wonder if KPN will go tits-up because of all this. It wouldn’t surprise me, though.

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