Nearly a month after US President Barack Obama publicly came out in support of net neutrality, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has argued in favor of creating a two-tier Internet, where the "fast lane" would be for special, high-priority online services, while the other lane would resemble the Internet we know today.
Speaking at Digitising Europe, an event put on by the Vodafone Institute for Society and Communication, she said that fast lanes are necessary for assuring a "predictable standard of quality," which is key to the development of new, advanced Internet services, like telemedicine, driverless cars, and more.
"If you want driverless control of cars, or when you use certain tele-medicine solutions, then you obviously have to have an error-free and permanently available connection," Merkel said. She also argued that the Internet in Germany isn’t fast enough for the principle of net neutrality to be implemented. "We can't talk about net neutrality if the capacity to have it isn't available."
According to a Frankfurter Allgemeine report, the German government is in agreement with the plan, and has even prepared an economic proposal for the European Union that looks to explore the new two-tier structure. Video-on-demand services, like Netflix, would also be eligible for paid prioritization of their content.
However, it would be difficult for the proposal to sail through the European Parliament which had earlier supported the principle of net neutrality by barring ISPs from charging data-hungry services for faster network access.
Meanwhile, Merkel's move to support prioritized internet traffic has concerned net neutrality supporters in Germany. "This statement is taking the position of telecommunications firms. This is not the net neutrality we want, but a move towards the creation of a two-tier network where content becomes preferred based on who pays for it to make it so," said Markus Beckedahl, Berlin-based founder of netzpolitik.