Can Net Neutrality introduce new limits to Crowdfunding?


The European Crowdfunding Network sees the discussion as vital for the future of European crowdfunding industry and internet entrepreneurs in general. The European Parliament will vote on the issue on 27 of February 2014. In September 2013 the European Commission published its proposals for a new Telecoms package, including the draft Regulation know as Connected Continent. A key component is a new set of rules intended to safeguard net neutrality. While a postive move in general, we must question its impact on web entrepreneurs. At a time when business models on the Internet are evolving with rapid pace the European Commission must be balanced in order to not disrupt positive innovation.

The economic aspects of net neutrality, and in particular the proposed provisions regarding so-called “specialised services” are a key concern that might create possibilities for quasi monopolies for some businesses, such as Internet Service Providers. How will this impact the different economic actors in the value-chain, especially internet service companies, such as crowdfunding platforms, start-ups and web entrepreneurs? And how would such framework affect the open, non-discriminatory character of the disruptive innovation based on the Internet?

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The European Crowdfunding Network has contributed to research under a Google Policy Fellowship at OpenForum Academy by Ana Olmos, a PhD candidate at  Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, a member of the IGF Advisory Group and to the Programme Network of EuroDIG (European Dialogue on Internet Governance).

Titel: Prospective analysis of Net Neutrality Policy Scenarios

Author: Ana Olmos

Publisher: OpenForumAcademy

Sponsor: Google Policy Fellowship

In the context of the net neutrality debate, there have been strong claims that there is a need to safeguard the open character of the internet, preserving free, non-discriminatory user access to the content, applications or services available online. This debate blends with the discussion on open internet and the need to keep the internet platform open to innovation, as a guarantee for the economic, social and technological development it offers.

Through various discussions, including public consultations on both sides of the Atlantic, some consensus has been reached on certain aspects of the debate: the need to preserve the open character of the internet, the central role of the user, the defense of competition, promotion of investment and innovation, the need for transparency and the need for “reasonable traffic management” techniques. However, these agreed upon principles leave open many questions (for example, what is “reasonable traffic management”) and there is strong division concerning the application of policy and regulation.

The European Crowdfunding Network also participated actively in the public discussion of the study at the European Parliament, hosted by Marietje Schaake Member of the European Parliament, ALDE.

Speakers included:

  • Peter Eberl Deputy Head of Unit for Regulatory Coordination & Users,
    Directorate for Electronic Communications Networks &
    Services, DG CONNECT
  • Ana Olmos Researcher, OpenForum Academy
  • Christoph Steck Director Public Policy and Internet, Telefónica
  • Jean-Jacques Sahel Director EMEA Policy and International Organisations,



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