The Dutch have brought in a net neutrality law after a public outcry over the antics of a telco for trying to shaft Skype by spying on customers.
There were warnings that European politicians were getting tetchy about the issue of telcos blocking or discriminate against internet services which compete with their legacy offerings, particularly in regards to Voice over iP.
However, in spite of the high level of alert against such plans the major Dutch telecommunications company KPN went ahead with new plans to charge extra for Skype and WhatsApp. To make matters worse, it said that it would use deep packet inspection hardware to monitor all internet traffic and classify it by application in order to make the new charging scheme work.
Never in the field of technology has corporate greed in the face of overwhelming hostility contrived to bring about instant karma on the people committing it. We are not sure if the phrase “PR own-goal” can be translated into Dutch but it should be.
By going full out to screw Skype over, KPN managed to miff almost everyone and forced the government to act. If KPN not done anything, it probably could have brought in some covert throttling in the future, perhaps under some sort of dodgy voluntary industry agreement.
However, Maxime Verhagen, the Minister of Economic affairs, Agriculture, and Innovation, announced in Parliament that it will legislate KPN into a corner and outlaw the practice.
What was even more amusing is that other telcos saw what KPN was doing and said “I’ll have some of that”. As a result, they look just as evil for following KPN down its mad charge towards self-destruction and thus enabling them all to collect the Lord Cardigan prize for strategy.
Verhagen said that the KPN claimed that its actions were needed to get cash to re-investments in the network and make back money lost thanks to the decline in voice and SMS traffic.
While he said that he was not against paying for the quantity or the speed of the data traffic, surcharging specific services like Skype or WhatsApp went too far.
Verhagen will draft a net neutrality proposal in the next few weeks, one that will give users confidence that “specific Internet service on their mobile will not be additionally taxed or blocked by mobile providers.”
*EyeSee Thank you, Jasper, Nick’s rampant gender-bending has been looked at.