UK broadband minister Ed Vaizey has declared ISPs should be free to favour traffic from one content provider over another as long as they inform customers. Speaking to the FT Conference this morning Vaizey says the market will decide how far ISPs can go in charging for preferential or guaranteed content delivery and QoS.
The move lines the government up with service providers like BT, Virgin and Talk Talk and against content provider like BBC and Google. Charging for a guaranteed service could be a major new revenie stream for the networks who have argued they must be able to profit from their investment in the infrastructure.
Vaizey maintains: “A lightly regulated internet is good for business, good for the economy and good for people. Consumers should have the ability to access any legal content or service. Content and service providers should have the ability to innovate and, most importantly, to reach users.”
“Creating the content and networks of the future requires investment. This means ISPs should be allowed to manage their networks to ensure a good customer services. The key is that consumers must be informed and aware of what they are buying and of any limitations attached to it.”
The government’s view is in line with the recent statements by Neelie Kroes, the European Commission’s vice-president for the digital agenda.
Content provider argue that free access to the Internet needs to be maintained to encourage innovation.