Net Neutrality’s Holes in Europe May Offer Peek at Future in U.S.

Europe has sought to combat such practices by adopting net neutrality rules aimed at ensuring that I.S.P.s in the bloc’s 28 member states can’t pick the web’s winners and losers. The regulations are binding and enforced by each country’s national telecom regulators.

For the European Union’s sprawling market of over 500 million citizens, the rules have mostly helped prevent bad behavior.

“There is not a long trail of abuse by telecom operators in net neutrality,” said Philippe Defraigne, a director at Cullen International, a Brussels-based consultant that covers telecoms and the digital economy.

That’s largely because unlike in the United States, Europeans have plenty of choices for internet access at home and on their mobile phones. France has four major mobile and internet operators and nine low-cost offshoots. Britain has more than 50. And there aren’t dominant giants born of megamergers, like the ones between Comcast and NBC Universal, and Verizon and AOL.

Even so, telecom operators in Europe…

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