Open letter to Vaizey calls for open internet

Open internet

A number of prominent organisations have today written an open letter to communications minister Ed Vaizey, asking him to stick by his pledge of an open internet.

The letter, which included the signatures of Stefan Krawczyk, a senior director at eBay, Emma Ascroft, director of public and social policy at Yahoo, and Jean-Jacques Sahel, director of government and regulatory affairs at Skype, thanked the minister for the commitments he had made but advised on what needed to be done by the Government to make sure the plans came to fruition.

"This is the first time that such a clear political commitment has been made in the UK to preserve the end-to-end principle that underpins the internet, and the benefits it brings to citizens, consumers, businesses and economic growth," said the letter.

"In order to safeguard these benefits for all stakeholders in the future, five key principles are important complements to this political commitment."

After the first point, which stated matter of fact that the internet needed to be open, the letter addressed the controversial issue of a two-tier internet, which Vaizey appeared to back earlier this month.

Unsurprisingly, those who signed the letter including executive director of the Open Rights Group, Jim Killock were against ISPs being able to charge content providers for fastest access to their websites.

"Traffic management should be kept to a minimum, and deployed for purely technical, security or legal reasons," read the letter. "There should be no discrimination in the treatment of internet traffic, based on device, or the origin and/or destination of the content, service or application."

The third principle added to this point by saying any information about traffic management should be made available to all who rely on broadband.

Finally, the letter called for any investment into future network capacity not to compromise the openness of the internet and for regulatory frameworks to stop network providers abusing the system needed to be put in place.

"End-users' choice of which applications, content, and services to view, use or run is already restricted in the UK today, especially when accessing the internet on mobile," it said.

"The Government's commitment to the open internet must be reflected in action on the ground to remove any such arbitrary restrictions to the open internet."

The letter concluded by calling for the Government to implement new EU legislation for electronic communications, to ensure Ofcom closely monitored the market and to push for ISPs to introduce "meaningful self regulation" in regards to traffic management.

We contacted Vaizey's department the department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) for an answer to the letter but it had not responded to our request at the time of publication.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.