European regulators group BEREC has received almost half a million responses to its controversial draft guidelines on European net neutrality rules.

BEREC said industry feedback to its consultation on net neutrality, which ended on 18 July, was “unprecedented”.

“The BEREC Office is currently processing the contributions received as planned. BEREC is focused on a thorough evaluation of the contributions and on the finalisation of the Guidelines,” it said in a statement.

The group will share its final net neutrality guidelines, along with all public responses to its consultation, in Brussels on 30 August, it said.

New net neutrality regulation is intended to stop operators from throttling general internet access in favour of preferential paid-for services. The European Parliament voted in favour of treating all network traffic equally in October.

The current proposals have come in for strong criticism from leading European operators and vendors, who have called them “restrictive”, and suggested 5G concepts such as network slicing require more flexible internet rules.

Last week, a GSMA spokesperson said: "We need to express our deepest concern on the current draft guidelines, as they appear to open a scenario of legal uncertainty as well as create a restraint on customer choice, network innovation and investment."

The European Telecommunications Network Operators’ Association (ETNO) said in June a restrictive interpretation of traffic management rules would hamper the industry’s ability to meet 5G requirements, differentiate services and stimulate the European economy.

In parallel, operators are concerned that regulators in Europe are dragging their heels on making available crucial 700MHz spectrum for the rollout of advanced LTE and 5G services, risking slower economic growth as a consequence.

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