The Dutch government plans to monitor and where needed intervene in a number of issues in the telecom sector in the medium term. These include competition on and between networks and the relationship between existing providers and newcomers, according to a joint paper by the economic affairs, justice and culture ministries presented to parliament. The paper outlines the cabinet's vision for the "internet value web", which includes telecom, media and internet as part of the same economic sector.
The internet is driving changes in the traditional telecom and media sectors, also impacting associated legislation and regulations. However, the government is hesitant to extend existing rules to the internet, for fear of holding back innovation and harming the sector's development, which is largely driven at an international level. It prefers to work at an EU level to address any needed changes in the law, and five issues play a central here.
The first is competitive strength. The Dutch government is concerned the European Commission's legislative proposals could reduce competition between networks and wants to ensure access regulation remains in place for third parties. Future could regulation could be based on the Open Network Provision from 1998-2002, which saw access regulations take effect as soon as an operator reached a certain market share.
Second, the Dutch government wants a stronger foundation to net neutrality rules, with these also extended to other 'gatekeepers', such as businesses that filer or aggregate information, like search engines, operating systems and app ecosystems. Third, the rise of OTT and on-demand services may require regulation of the audiovisual sector to be relaxed. The Dutch government said it's ready to take the lead on this in EU discussions.
In addition, issues such as integrity, continuity and privacy are increasingly the domain of 'new' players, and not just market incumbents, and these new players should face the same responsibilities, both towards public authorities and end-users. The fifth point is an extension this, namely the rise of profiling based on increased access to personal data.
The Dutch government is working on various projects surrounding the above issues, both at home and the EU level. They will be addressed further when the Netherlands takes over the EU presidency in the first half of 2016.