MP rails against end of net neutrality

A Labour MP has tabled an early day motion on net neutrality calling for the Government to reconsider its support for a two-tiered internet.

MP rails against end of net neutrality

The motion comes in reaction to yesterday’s comments by Communications Minister Ed Vaizey in which he said ISPs and content providers should be left to decide how to they deliver content to end users.

The fear is that services, such as the BBC’s iPlayer, could be throttled by ISPs unless the corporation paid them for speedy delivery.

In his early day motion, Labour’s Tom Watson said he believed that “abandoning the principle of internet neutrality will stifle online innovation and lead to websites paying internet service providers to ensure their content gets priority”.

Internet regulator Ofcom and the Government believe that transparency – where ISPs must be up-front about traffic management – and competition should be the corner stones of consumer protection, with users free to leave an ISP if they find their favourite services are left too slow.

But Watson and other commentators are worried that lengthy contracts mean consumers would not be able to switch providers.

“Mere transparency is unlikely to lead to protection of customers and citizens from harm,” Watson’s motion said. “Especially as ISPs seek to lock their customers into long-term bundled service agreements with telephones, televisions, mobile telephones and internet.”

Watson called for the Government to take action against ISPs that block or restrict access to certain content for market advantage.

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