Labour MP Tom Watson has called on the House of Commons to debate the implications of comments made yesterday by communications minister Ed Vaizey about the tiered delivery of internet traffic.
Vaizey's comments were seen as blow for net neutrality, as they appeared to support a system where ISPs would be able to prioritise traffic. Many argue that this could threaten the open nature of the internet which has helped drive its growth for the past 20 years.
Watson's Early Day Motion outlines a number of key areas that he believes will be harmed if Vaizey's proposals are implemented.
"This House notes that an open internet has delivered competition, innovation and unlimited access to new services, and has played a pivotal role in enhancing democratic participation and freedom of expression," the Motion said.
"Abandoning the principle of internet neutrality will stifle online innovation and lead to web sites paying ISPs to ensure that their content gets priority."
Watson also expressed doubts that any transparency by ISPs about those services that are tiered will make much difference, noting that many ISPs try to "lock customers into long-term bundled service agreements with telephones, televisions, mobile telephones and internet".
Watson also called on the government to act against ISPs that "may seek to restrict customers' internet access for market advantage through minimum service guarantees".
However, Watson admitted that it could be a struggle to raise the issue with other MPs, noting on his Tw itter page that it is "hard to frame [the debate] for MPs not familiar with the concept".
The fact that Watson has raised the issue will be welcomed by many who were disappointed that the government may not enforce net neutrality in the UK.
Watson is a long-time champion of internet issues, and was vocal in his opposition to the Digital Economy Bill.
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