Internet

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 25th November 2010.

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Photo of Andrew Smith Andrew Smith Labour, Oxford East

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will make it his policy to ensure that internet service providers do not discriminate against competitors and new entrants in the speed at which websites and services reach their customers.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Innovation and Skills) (Culture, Communications and Creative Industries) (jointly with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport)

The Government expect all internet service providers (ISPs) providing an internet access service-both fixed and mobile-to offer all legal content. Consumers should always be able to access any legal content or service they want to and content providers and applications should be able to access consumers. ISPs should not be able to discriminate unfairly against services or users. That means no blocking or discriminatory degradation of services or applications for commercial reasons.

There is not yet any evidence that discriminatory practices are emerging, or that there is a problem with regards to how ISPs or networks manage the traffic that flows over them (something they all engage in for technical reasons to deliver the best possible service to consumers). And this is enforced by the initial responses to Ofcom's recent consultation on the issue.

A contributing factor to the success of the internet has been the lack of legislative restraints that have been placed on it. It is important that we give the market the opportunity to self regulate. Ofcom will closely monitor how the market develops and if it develops in an anti-competitive way they will intervene.

Does this answer the above question?

Yes2 people think so

No9 people think not

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