May 23, 2006 5:46 AM PDT

Berners-Lee calls for Net neutrality

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, has called for clear separation between Internet access and Internet content.

Speaking at the World Wide Web conference in Edinburgh on Tuesday morning, Berners-Lee gave his views on the growing battle over Net neutrality.

"It's better and more efficient for us all if we have a separate market where we get our connectivity, and a separate market where we get our content. Information is what I use to make all my decisions. Not just what to buy, but how to vote," Berners-Lee told journalists.

"There is an effort by some companies in the U.S. to change this. There's an attempt to get to a situation where if I want to watch a TV station across the Internet, that TV station must have paid to transmit to me."

Net neutrality is the concept that all Internet content should be treated equally by broadband providers without any kind of discrimination. It has become a hot political topic this year, especially in the U.S., amid fears that telephone companies may start blocking some Web sites or charge users extra to access them.

Companies such as Google, Microsoft and Yahoo have been lobbying U.S. politicians to introduce laws that would make Net neutrality mandatory. These moves have been opposed by broadband providers and some hardware manufacturers.

Berners-Lee characterized the issue as a U.S.-only problem at present. "In Europe, Net neutrality is the rule," he said.

Although Berners-Lee offered his support for Net neutrality, he does not support a completely unregulated telecoms and Internet market.

"The fact is that the openness of the Internet, which is such a wonderful thing, does depend on a certain amount of regulation. We've had in Britain the fact that if you put a stamp on a letter it gets there," Berners-Lee said.

The World Wide Web conference will run until Thursday. It was opened by Scotland First Minister Jack McConnell, who hailed the great progress made in the 15 years since Berners-Lee created the Web's underlying protocols.

"The Web has brought so many possibilities that it's hard to believe it's such a short time since Sir Tim and those pioneers created it," said McConnell.

Jonathan Bennett of Builder UK reported from London.

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Here in the U.S., we need to realize that this could cause a direct violation to our First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech. This is the First idea set down by our founding fathers. If Net Neutrality doesn't go through, the existing ISPs(Internet Service Providers) could limit what my fellow citizens say and/or where they say it. It is like saying: You can only use websites X, Y, and Z, but not A, B, and C. What if A, B, and C are government run websites for disabled/elderly/etc citizens? This country was built "By The People, For the People", not for the companies that don't want to play nice with others or companies that do not want to keep up with technology because they like their Monopolies just the way they are.
Posted by myseryguy (1 comment )
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<a title="The FCC is attempting to impose net neutrality." href="">Net Neutrality</a> is one thing the FCC is absolutely pushing for. Net neutrality is essentially a way to get a lot more access to the internet to more Americans at a reasonable price by opening it up for everybody. Many people presently are getting personal loans to cover their bills and incorporated in those bills is a lot more money to acquire faster internet constantly. Giving people cheaper access to the internet may actually backfire and hurt the world wide web. Regardless of this being good or bad, the one thing every person can agree with is that this would create a lot more online traffic.
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