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October 27, 2015updated 30 Aug 2016 11:15am

Tim Berners-Lee calls for EU to kill ‘online fast lanes’ ahead of net neutrality vote

News: World Wide Web inventor speaks out before the European Parliament votes on net neutrality.

By CBR Staff Writer

World Wide Web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has called for European Union legislators to kill the ‘online fast lanes’, or the so called "specialised services", to ensure that the internet continues to remain a level playing field.

Lee issued his statement ahead of the key vote in the European Parliament on net neutrality.

He said in a blogpost: "To keep Europe innovative and competitive, it is essential that MEPs adopt amendments for stronger "network neutrality" (net neutrality).

"When I designed the World Wide Web, I built it as an open platform to foster collaboration and innovation.

"The Web evolved into a powerful and ubiquitous platform because I was able to build it on an open network that treated all packets of information equally. This principle of net neutrality has kept the Internet a free and open space since its inception."

As per the new proposal, the ISPs will be allowed create a fast lanes for companies that pay to have their content load faster by calling them "specialised services".

Lee warned that the "specialised services" could squeeze bandwidth for start-ups, small businesses, artists, activists, and educators, as they can’t pay extra for the service.

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As per the current proposal, the ISPs could exempt applications from bandwidth cap ("zero-rating").

He added: "Economic discrimination is just as harmful as technical discrimination, so ISPs will still be able to pick winners and losers online."

The new proposal also allows service providers to speed up and slow down internet services by defining their class of service. He said that it will not only harm competition, but also discourage encryption as many ISPs lump all encrypted services together in a single class, and throttle that class.

"MEPs should vote for the amendments that ban class-based discrimination to protect users, competition, privacy, and innovation online," he added.

"If adopted as currently written, these rules will threaten innovation, free speech and privacy, and compromise Europe’s ability to lead in the digital economy."

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