Government minister backtracks on net neutrality

The issue of net neutrality in the UK has become even more confusing, after a minister claimed his speech calling for a two-tier internet had been misinterpreted.

Government minister backtracks on net neutrality

Last week, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey suggested the Government would allow content providers to pay to ensure better quality of delivery, saying that market forces should be left to decide the future of the internet.

After days of criticism, Vaizey now claims that his views on the subject are more in line with Sir Tim Berners-Lee – the creator of the web, who has argued in favour of net neutrality.

“I say ‘don’t block input’ [to the internet]. It’s my first principle,” Vaizey told The Guardian. “I say the same as Berners-Lee.”

But Berners-Lee himself told the paper: “There’s no passage in [Vaizey’s] speech where he says he’s against net neutrality… We have discussed it on the phone. But I can’t say yet that we’re entirely in line.”

Vaizey took the same message to The Telegraph: “People are already entitled to choose the speed of their connection, but we’re not saying one ISP should be able to prioritise one provider’s content over another and I don’t support the commercial decision to downgrade a rival’s site.”

However, in his speech last week, Vaizey said one possibility of letting the market develop its own solutions means it could evolve into a “two-sided market where consumers and content providers could choose to pay for differing levels of quality of service.”

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