Net neutrality is one of those things we, as a reliable hosting provider, need to support to ensure all internet content is readily available without additional cost, which is traditionally the way content is provided to users. Leaseweb strongly supports an ‘open’ internet with content freely accessible to viewers without a ‘gatekeeper,’ artificial barriers, or any other restrictions on internet content. Recently some broadband providers have moved to impose a “toll” on content providers, which could seriously damage users’ access to the internet.
Throughout our existence as hosting company we have stood for the proposition that the Internet should be unrestricted with no tiered services. Telecoms operators want to control the content consumers can access through discriminatory pricing, which will have a serious negative impact on internet hosts, content suppliers and users. Leaseweb, for example, hosts many sites for well-known content providers, such as Wikipedia, and any additional content charges will seriously damage the access to these sites.
The present UK government believes that creating legislation to allow incumbent telecom operators to charge content providers and create ‘two-lanes’ of traffic – fast for preferred content providers and slow for the rest- will encourage healthy competition within the industry. However, are competitive innovation and increased profit margins for the telecoms and ISP industry really more important than an open Internet? Will this not lead to less innovation and creativity on the Internet if only the biggest commercial content providers can afford to pay the telecom operators to reach their customers? How can so much control provide an Internet which continues to be a place for people to share new and inventive ideas, and for people to spotlight their products and services fairly?
ISPs and telecoms companies should remain responsible for the costs of their own networks, which is the way the internet works now. Leaseweb strongly believes net neutrality is always the best option to ensure a free and open internet. It is important that the rest of the online industry, such as hosting providers, content providers and customers support net neutrality. Otherwise the Internet will become a stifled and controlled environment where consumers and businesses will suffer from a decline in creative web content, limited access to the full range of internet content; and much higher costs.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal detailed the efforts of some major European broadband companies to attempt to force content providers to pay for the traffic they originate, which would raise the cost of access to consumers. This would restrict what internet subscribers, including individuals, companies and organizations could access at reasonable cost. In some cases, high costs imposed by broadband providers would make much internet content unavailable to users in many countries, as the cost to obtain content would be prohibitive.
Vint Cerf, considered the founder of the modern internet recently discussed the importance of net neutrality recently, in his testimony before the U.S. Congress.