You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Internet's creator urges net neutrality

Press AssociationPress Association 15/07/2016 Martyn Landi

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, has written an open letter calling for European citizens to "save the open internet" by joining a public consultation on net neutrality.

EU regulators are currently working on guidelines surrounding net neutrality - which is the principle that all internet traffic is equal - having voted on new legislation last year.

However, Berners-Lee, along with law professors Barbara van Schewick and Larry Lessig, has urged the public to engage in the consultation, which runs until July 18, in order to pressure regulators into closing what they call "potential loopholes" that could threaten net neutrality.

"Network neutrality for hundreds of millions of Europeans is within our grasp," the letter says.

"Securing this is essential to preserve the open internet as a driver for economic growth and social progress.

"But the public needs to tell regulators now to strengthen safeguards, and not cave in to telecommunications carriers' manipulative tactics."

The letter, which was posted to the website of the World Wide Web Foundation of which Sir Tim is a founder, also criticises teleco firms for "lobbying hard to get regulators to adopt weak guidelines that would benefit their businesses over the public interest".

Earlier this week, a group of Europe's biggest telecoms firms published a "5G manifesto" in which they pledged to bring 5G networks and increased internet speeds to every EU country by 2020 if the rules on net neutrality were softened.

The companies argue that the loopholes help create "pragmatic rules", which are needed in order to encourage future innovation and investment.

Among the alleged loopholes highlighted in the open letter was allowing"fast lanes" of internet access for "specialised services", where telecoms companies could charge websites extra in order to reach customers faster.

"Strong guidelines will protect the future of competition, innovation, and creative expression in Europe, enhancing Europe's ability to lead in the digital economy," he said.

"They will ensure that every European, no matter the colour of their skin or the size of their wallets, has an equal chance to innovate, compete, speak, organise, and connect online."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon