In the US, this week saw the effective repeal of net neutrality laws in the US. What does this mean for the UK?
Kevin Pratt, the consumer affairs expert at MoneySuperMarket, said this morning:
“Net neutrality is protected in the UK by EU regulation and, prior to this, boasted voluntary support from internet service providers (ISPs). However, with Brexit fast approaching and the principles underpinning net neutrality being eroded in the United States, questions around the future of net neutrality in the UK are inevitably beginning to emerge.
“Net neutrality is intended to keep the internet open and fair by preventing ISPs from favouring the delivery of their own content at the expense of rivals. Most British businesses and ISPs have publicly committed to protecting net neutrality, but we are increasingly seeing companies prioritise their own content and offer incentives that undermine the delivery of an equal and fair internet.
“In the short-term, these incentives can be attractive, but there is a risk that customers might become tied to a supplier who takes advantage by increasing charges.
“In addition to these practical concerns, the demise of net neutrality would compromise one of the core philosophies of the internet – that it should be accessible on the same terms to everyone, regardless of their location or device.
“Alongside water, gas and electricity, access to the internet is considered a household utility. Establishing a ’fast lane’ for those who pay more is iniquitous, especially as internet access is becoming ever more important to the way we live our lives – from staying connected to friends and family, to shopping and entertainment.
“MoneySuperMarket will always champion the need for competition among ISPs in order to keep household costs down and allow people to choose a broadband service that suits them. Over the coming months, we will be calling on the UK government and OFCOM to remember their commitment to improving internet access for all and to protect net neutrality.”