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ISPs should be allowed to abandon net neutrality, says Ed Vaizey

A lightly regulated internet is "good for the people".

Internet service providers (ISPs) should be allowed to abandon net neutrality and give users the access to certain content providers, culture minister Ed Vaizey said in a speech on Wednesday.

Net neutrality advocates no restrictions by ISPs and governments on content, sites, platforms, the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and the modes of communication allowed.

The broadband providers should be given the freedom to favour one content provider over another, as long as they inform customers in order to manage internet traffic, he added.

A lightly regulated internet is good for business, good for the economy and good for the people, he said.

The crux of the debate is the extent to which traffic should be managed on the internet and more specifically, whether ISPs should ever have the right to favour one content provider over another, particularly for commercial reasons, Vaizey said.

The minister listed three principles to guide the debate on the issue. He asked for openness, where consumers can always access any legal content or service; transparency where ISPs provide information about their traffic management policies; and giving ISPs the ability to support investment and innovation