In a speech at a telecoms conference in London recently Ed Vaizey, Minister for Communication, Culture and the Creative Industries in Britain, made clear his opposition to net neutrality. He declared that British ISPs should be allowed to prioritise traffic to certain content providers, effectively expelling the notion of net neutrality.
A move like this would mean that big companies could pay ISPs to prioritise traffic to their site, ensuring that it is faster and more responsive that competitors. This is bad news for start-up companies and smaller sites that may not be able to afford this expense.
Vaizey stated that the idea would somehow work if ISPs were transparent and open about traffic discrimination to their customers:
“Under the new provisions providers must present information about their service, including the nature and extent of their traffic management policies and their impact on service quality in a clear, visible and easy to understand form for all their customers.”
He also stated that ISPs already manage traffic and that there was no “evidence of any impact either on competition or consumers from traffic management.”
Net neutrality is very important for the continued openness and innovation of the internet, and once you start favouring one user over another on a network, the notion of net neutrality disappears.