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Hungarian ICT watchdog welcomes EU courtʼs net neutrality ruling

Hungaryʼs National Media and Infocommunications Authority (NMHH) on Wednesday welcomed a decision by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) affirming its interpretation of European Union rules ensuring net neutrality, state news wire MTI reports.

NMHH said the decision - the first case in which the CJEU has interpreted the net neutrality rules - would allow the Metropolitan Court of Budapest to close a case brought by telco Telenor appealing the NMHHʼs instruction to discontinue practices it said violated net neutrality rules.

The authority added that the CJEU decision would also provide a precedent in the long term for similar matters brought to courts in Hungary as well as other EU member states.

In the CJEUʼs ruling on Tuesday, it affirmed the NMHHʼs stand that a Telenor tariff package that limited access to some mobile applications after a data threshold was reached, while continuing to allow unlimited access to other applications, violates EU rules prohibiting limitations on open internet access.

Net neutrality rules ensure end-users rights to use applications and services "of their choice", irrespective of application or service, and prohibits telcos from limiting the exercise of those rights through agreements on data volume or speed.

CJEU said tariff packages such as Telenorʼs "are liable to increase the use of the favored applications and services and, accordingly, to reduce the use of the other applications and services available".

The court also warned that the impact of the scale of subscribers who choose such packages would "result in a significant limitation of the exercise of end-usersʼ rights, or even undermine the very essence of those rights".