Dug Campbell

The fight for net neutrality rumbles on

The Net Neutrality issue rumbles on in the US but there are some initial indications that progress is being made. The FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler announced that he intends to recommend the adoption of rules to keep the internet “fair, fast and open”. Of course, that’s the exact opposite of what the broadband network operators have been fighting for as they continue to push for the right to have a two-tier internet whereby some traffic is afforded a higher priority than others. That’s clearly a dangerous route for us all to go down so the comments this week are certainly positive.

I’ve written about net neutrality before but of course a lot of the commentary is being driven by those in the US. So if you want a quick summary of the topic, I recommend you start with the seriously funny section by John Oliver from a few months back.

But what’s happening in the UK and the rest of Europe?

Well, it’s not all roses over here. Tim Berners-Lee has just published a guest blog post on the European Commission website addressing the issue directly.

Whilst the noises from the European Parliament have been very positive, the current UK government have forced the major ISP’s to block access to certain sites (for a range of reasons from illegal filesharing to imposing parental controls by default). TBL points to Dutch research that shows that net neutrality stimulates innovation by enabling competition on both price and quality, providing the end-user with better options and allowing the growth of new businesses. As he points out:

“Maintaining this net neutrality is critical for the future of the Web and the future of human rights, innovation and progress in Europe.”

If the US does end up making the correct decision, then let’s hope we don’t blow it over here.