Father of the web says “leave my kid alone”

The father of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has told ISPs that their cunning plan to for a “two-speed” internet goes against the principles that have let the net grow so rapidly in the past 20 years.

Sir Tim said that best practices should also include the neutrality of the net.

According to the Guardian, Berners-Lee was at a round table meeting in Westminster convened by the communications minister Ed Vaizey

At the meeting Facebook, Skype, the BBC and Yahoo, and Sir Tim were on one side and ISPs were on the other.

Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group, who was representing consumer interests at the meeting, said afterwards that he was concerned about the direction the debate was going as it was clear that the regulators and government do not wish to intervene. However the industry is not putting forward anything that looks like meaningful self-regulation.

In Blighty ISPs have for years sought to charge the BBC or customers for using large amonts of bandwidth on things like the iPlayer

Now they are talking about a “two-tier” connection where some services are slower than others. Skype said that this state of affairs exists on Mobile services in the UK because carriers are violating the principle of net neutrality because they fear it will affect their call revenues.

Sir Tim said that every customer should be able to access every service, and every service should be able to access every customer. He said that the web has grown so fast precisely because we have had two independent markets, one for connectivity, and the other for content and applications.

As far as the government was concerned Vaizey said the meeting had been “useful and productive” and that “it was important to discuss how to ensure the internet remains an open, innovative and competitive place.”

It does not look like we will see him putting his foot down soon.