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Europe cracks down on data cap exemptions in update to net neutrality rules

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European telecom regulator BEREC has updated its net neutrality guidelines to include a strict ban on zero-rating practices that exempt specific apps or categories of apps from data caps imposed by Internet service providers.

The document published Wednesday provides guidance to national regulatory authorities on their “obligations to closely monitor and ensure compliance with the rules to safeguard equal and non-discriminatory treatment of traffic in the provision of Internet access services and related end-users’ rights.” BEREC stands for Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications.

“Despite intense lobbying from big carriers and giant platforms, BEREC voted to clearly ban zero-rating offers that benefit select apps or categories of apps by exempting them from people’s monthly data caps,” Stanford Law Professor Barbara van Schewick wrote. “The ban applies whether the app pays to be included or not, closing a loophole in the draft guidelines.”

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