Berners-Lee Warns ISPs on Net Neutrality

by on Mar.19, 2011, under Uncategorized

(Original post at the UK Guardian)

Berners-Lee Warns ISPs on Net Neutrality

By Charles Arthur
Wednesday 16 March 2011

The inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has warned Internet service providers (ISPs) that plans for a “two-speed” internet go against the principles that have let the net grow so rapidly in the past two decades.

“Best practices should also include the neutrality of the net,” Berners-Lee told a round table in Westminster on Wednesday morning, convened by the communications minister Ed Vaizey. Content companies, represented by Facebook, Skype, the BBC and Yahoo, squared up to ISPs, with input from consumer representatives including the Open Rights Group, the Consumers’ Association and the communications regulator Ofcom.

[. . .]

Berners-Lee told the meeting that “every customer should be able to access every service, and every service should be able to access every customer … The web has grown so fast precisely because we have had two independent markets, one for connectivity, and the other for content and applications.”

Vaizey said the meeting had been “useful and productive” and that “it was important to discuss how to ensure the internet remains an open, innovative and competitive place.”

“Net neutrality” – in which services are treated exactly equally as they pass over the net, no matter what their source or destination – has become an increasingly vexed topic as demands on ISPs and mobile carriers have begun to outstrip capacity.

ISPs have thus suggested that they should be allowed to manipulate the transfer of data, but that they would be transparent about how and what they were doing.

[. . .]



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