Here’s my response the UK Net Neutrality Debate

Following the recent net neutrality debate, chaired by Ed Vaizey and attended by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, it looks like the government will not intervene or stop ISPs  managing network traffic. This is a positive outcome as ISPs have had to change the way the traffic moves across our networks in the UK to match our changing patterns of internet consumption.

Net neutrality would mean a flat internet where all traffic is treated equally and this was once a perfectly valid viewpoint.  Internet usage today has, though, evolved dramatically from what it once was. The internet cannot be 2D when we are now living in a 3D world. The internet was designed to deal with email and basic web browsing, but now we have services that desperately need their traffic sped up so they can be used at their full potential.

Certain services, where even a tiny delay would result in an almost intolerable experience, would benefit consumers greatly if they were prioritised.  Imagine trying to watch a video on YouTube that takes an age to stream, or taking a call on Skype where each speaker was delayed by two seconds.

ISPs need to keep using smart traffic management if they are to continue to deliver a decent internet experience and this means they need to be allowed to – transparently, and with user input - accelerate certain traffic.  These last points are the most important – consumers should be presented with understandable information about what they are being asked to pay for.

Published Mar 22, 2011
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