[Special Section on Net Neutrality] Does Europe Need Network Neutrality Rules?

Martin Cave, Pietro Crocioni


For the purposes of this paper, we interpret net neutrality as a restriction on price differentiation or price discrimination by firms involved in the communications services value chain- particularly those providing transport. The European regulatory framework for electronic communications services permits ex ante regulatory intervention in specified network or services markets only where there is dominance or 'significant market power.' We argue that this provision, combined with European competition law which can be applied to content as well as – concurrently – to electronic communications services, is adequate to deal with actual or prospective abuses of market power, whereas a blanket prohibition of the kind envisaged by proponents of net neutrality is likely in some cases to harm consumers' interests.

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