In a development that is expected to reverberate throughout the European Union (EU), lawmakers in the lower house of the Dutch parliament approved a new national law that would prohibit wireless carriers in the Netherlands from blocking Internet content and services or charging subscribers extra fees for such content. Approved on Wednesday, the measure is expected easily to pass the Dutch senate, which would make the Netherlands the first EU nation and the second country in the world to mandate net neutrality. Last year, Chile enacted net neutrality laws that went into effect last month. (Although the FCC adopted net neutrality rules last December that affect U.S. carriers, those rules remain in legal limbo as a result of various pending court challenges.) Wednesday’s action constitutes a setback for former state phone monopoly KPN, which has blamed a surge in usage of Skype’s free web-calling service and of IP chat service WhatsApp for a recent 8.1% drop in revenues that triggered a profit warning. Currently, two other top wireless operators in the Netherlands—T-Mobile and Vodafone—either block access to Skype and similar services or charge customers extra for using them. Once the measure is enacted by the Senate, T-Mobile, Vodafone and other carriers that continue to engage in these practices may be subject to fines of up to ten percent of their annual revenues. (Carriers, however, would still be able to assess differentiated fees for capped levels of usage that are not targeted at any specific website or web service.) Although the European Commission (EC) has yet to adopt any EU-wide net neutrality mandate, digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes said last month that the EC would consider net neutrality rules later this year if EU operators did not take steps to guarantee unfettered passage of lawful web content across their networks. Terming the parliament’s approach as “fair and sensible,” a spokesman for Skype applauded the measure as “an example for the other countries in Europe and elsewhere to follow.” On behalf of its EU carrier members, however, an official of the European Telecommunications Network Operators Association warned that the parliament’s move would deter operators from investing in high-speed networks, as a spokesman for KPN added: “there is at least the risk of higher prices because our options to differentiate will now be more limited.”