Web inventor lends support for neutrality measures during Government-held roundtable

Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls for net neutrality

Internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee has called on the government to introduce measures supporting net neutrality.

Internet pioneer Sir Tim Berners-Lee has called on the government to introduce measures supporting net neutrality.

The inventor made the comments at a government roundtable event discussing protecting the open internet, which was attended by internet service providers, mobile network operators, content providers, broadcasters, consumer bodies, trade bodies and Ofcom.

With no legislation currently in place for neutrality of the internet, ISPs are abiding by the rules voluntarily and Sir Berners-Lee said that best practices on the net should include neutrality as well as transparency about traffic management policy.

"The web has grown so fast precisely because we have had two independent markets, one for connectivity, and the other for content and applications," he said.

The meeting also discussed issues around managing traffic on the web and protecting the open internet as well as the potential of creating an industry-wide agreement or set of principles, which could be used to guide self-regulation.

Sir Berners-Lee agreed to help the Broadband Stakeholder Group build upon their recently published transparency document to include the rights of consumers and business to connect to whomever they wanted on the internet without discrimination.

Communications and creative industries minister Ed Vaizey said that maintaining the open internet should be guided by three principles, with the first being the right for users to access all legal content.

The other principles were that there should be no discrimination against content providers on the basis of commercial rivalry, and that traffic management policies should be clear and transparent.

“Handling heavier internet traffic will become an increasingly significant issue so it was important to discuss how to ensure the internet remains an open, innovative and competitive place," he said.

“The internet has brought huge economic and social benefits across the world because of its openness and that must continue.

"I am pleased that someone with the expertise of Sir Tim has agreed to work with industry on expanding that agreement to cover managing and maintaining the open internet."

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