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BBC issues stark warning to ISPs over net neutrality

The British institution said it would warn users if ISPs were downgrading the speed of access to its websites.

BBC

The BBC has warned internet service providers (ISPs) it will advise its users if access to its websites has been slowed down.

A two-tier internet system, where ISPs would be able to sell faster access to content providers or users, has gained support from regulator Ofcom and the European Commission.

However, Eric Huggers, director of future media and technology at the BBC, has shown the organisation was less keen and said it would offer a traffic light system to show what class of connection users were getting when accessing the likes of the BBC iPlayer.

The Financial Times reported Huggers saying the BBC would be "highly unlikely" to pay the premium for top quality access, during the newspaper's telecoms conference this week.

But the traffic light system has been seen as more of a threat than a promise, with Huggers adding the organisation would only implement it if it felt it was necessary for "consumers to see that their ISP [was] behaving appropriately."

The news follows the controversial two-tier system getting the backing of communications minister Ed Vaizey.

The Conservative MP said ISPs should be free to control their networks as they saw fit and only "light regulation" from the Government should be implemented to keep the internet "open and transparent."

Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group (ORG), reacted negatively to Vaizey's support.

"Removing 'net neutrality' is likely to reduce innovation and reduce people's ability to exercise their freedom of speech," he said, concluding ORG would campaign against ISPs restricting customer's access for "market advantage."

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