Some ISPs in Europe offer data plans that are capped at certain amount of GB per month.

But in this europa.eu page one can read that:

The best effort internet is about the equal treatment of data traffic being transmitted over the internet, i.e. that the ‘best efforts’ are made to carry data, no matter what it contains, which application transmits the data (“application-agnosticism”), where it comes from or where it goes. The benefits of the best effort internet notably include the separation between application and network layers of the internet.

(emphasis added)

Is it actually legal under EU law to offer Internet services that do not treat all services/apps/websites equally when it comes to data caps?

1 Answer 1


This issue has now been ruled on by the European Court of Justice, which ruled that zero rating breaks net neutrality and is unlawful.

No 106/2020 : 15 September 2020 - Judgment of the Court of Justice in Joined Cases C-807/18,C-39/19 Telenor Magyarország

Original answer for historical purposes:

As another page in your link says, it depends:

Is zero-rating allowed under the Regulation?

It depends. There are different types of zero-rating practices, some of which are more problematic than others. BEREC’s Guidelines look at different examples and provide guidance on the extent to which they could be considered permissible under the Regulation.

The BEREC guidelines explain that some practices are clearly prohibited – those where all applications are blocked or slowed down once the data cap is reached except for the zero-rated application(s). Others are less clear-cut and will be need to be assessed by NRAs against a number of criteria set out in the Guidelines.

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