News story

Open internet roundtable statement

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey meets with a host of industry and consumer groups to to discuss protecting the open internet.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The roundtable discussion brought together internet service providers, mobile network operators, content providers, broadcasters, consumer bodies, trade bodies and Ofcom.

The meeting 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.

Web inventor Sir Tim 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.

Sir Tim said “While transparency about traffic management policy is a good thing, best practices should also include the neutrality of the net. The web has grown so fast precisely because we have had two independent markets, one for connectivity, and the other for content and applications.”

The benefits of openness

Mr Vaizey said

This was a useful and productive meeting.  It gave all interested parties the opportunity to air their views and discuss these issues.

Internet traffic is growing.  Handling that heavier 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.

It is good to see that industry has taken the lead on agreeing greater transparency for their traffic management policies.  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.

That agreement should be guided by three simple principles. The first is users should be able to access all legal content. Second, there should be no discrimination against content providers on the basis of commercial rivalry and finally traffic management policies should be clear and transparent.

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

Further information

Published 16 March 2011