Mobile Future

Dutch Net Neutrality Law Blocks Free HBO for Consumers

Bad news for Dutch mobile users – they won’t be getting free HBO in the Netherlands anymore.

Last week, the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) fined wireless provider Vodafone for giving its consumers free streaming HBO channels.  ACM found this was a violation of the country’s net neutrality rules, which requires Internet providers to charge the same tariffs for all online services and applications.

While we all support an open Internet, I’d bet most consumers would also appreciate the opportunity to get HBO or other services like music streaming for free on their mobile devices.  In fact, a recent Social Lens Research survey for Mobile Future found that 88% of consumers believe that government should not block – or be involved in at all – new wireless business models.

Bottom line: In an effort to protect an open Internet, the Netherlands’ cumbersome net neutrality rules have squashed a consumer-friendly offering.

With the Federal Communications Commission planning to impose new U.S. net neutrality rules with broad implications for the mobile community, this is an important reminder of the potential unintended consequences for consumers from overreaching regulations.