US proposals threaten openness of internet, warns Berners-Lee

The openness of the internet needs a certain amount of control, but proposed US legislation could create closed-off areas, the World Wide Web Consortium’s Tim Berners-Lee has warned.

The openness of the internet needs a certain amount of control, but proposed US legislation could create closed-off areas, the World Wide Web Consortium’s Tim Berners-Lee has warned.

One of the challenges facing the web is that the network companies that have invested heavily in creating an open, connected infrastructure want a share of the revenue coming in from the businesses that use this infrastructure. This is nowhere more apparent than with the distribution of video content online.

While Berners-Lee said commercial forces driving the web was reasonable, the founder of the web said he was concerned by moves in the US to curb net neutrality.

“There is an effort by some companies in the US to get legislation changed so that if they provide enough bandwidth to the home for video they would have the right to degrade the service to people who have not paid,” he warned.

The change to the law would prevent users from accessing TV stations over the internet unless the station had paid for the right to distribute the video content over the net.

Berners-Lee said, “This is not the internet model. I hope the US will come to the right decision based on the groundswell of opinion for net neutrality. If it doesn’t then people with high speed connections will find they can’t get the TV stations they want.”


 

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