Tim Berners-Lee pushes net neutrality at ISP roundtable

By Derek du Preez
16 Mar 2011 View Comments
A close-up of Sir Tim Berners-Lee

Web founder Tim Berners-Lee today told communications minister Ed Vaizey and ISPs that maintaining an open internet is essential.

Attendees of a roundtable meeting discussed web traffic management and how best to protect net neutrality.

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It is hoped that these discussions will help industry forum the Broadband Stakeholder Group build upon its recently published transparency document, which saw ISPs and mobile operators sign up to a code of practice on web traffic management.

"While transparency about traffic management policy is a good thing, best practices should also include the neutrality of the net," said Berners-Lee.

Vaizey agreed, and said he was pleased to see the industry making changes rather than changes being enforced by communications regulator Ofcom.

"Internet traffic is growing. Handling that heavier traffic will become an increasingly significant issue so it is important to discuss how to ensure the internet remains open, innovative and competitive," said Vaizey.

"It is good to see that industry has taken the lead on agreeing greater transparency for its traffic management policies."

Despite the push from today's meeting for maintaining net neutrality, Matthew Finnie, chief technology officer at Interoute, argued that it is unrealistic.

"Despite the principles on which the internet was founded, it is naïve to assume that a free internet is a ‘right'," he said.

"Content providers that tend to use up vast amounts of capacity to deliver their content to consumers have a right to make money from the services they distribute. And the success of the internet is in large part due to this content distribution."

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