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'Neutrality preserves internet openness'

Says creator of the world wide web

The computer scientist credited with inventing the web strongly condemned moves by US broadband providers to control their subscribers' content today, saying it threatens the internet's greatest strength: openness.

Tim Berners-Lee said some internet regulation is needed but should be minimal. He said efforts to control content have far-reaching impacts on other areas for users, such as decisions on voting and development of democracy.

"I hope that the US will come to the right decision and there is a very strong groundswell of opinion for net neutrality," Berners-Lee said. He spoke at the 15th International World Wide Web conference, an all-week meeting in Edinburgh, Scotland, exploring new internet technology.

US lawmakers are considering net-neutrality legislation that would require broadband companies to provide the same level of service for all content.

Last week, members of the US House of Representatives introduced a bill, called the Internet Freedom and Nondiscrimination Act, that would require broadband providers, if they prioritise or offer enhanced quality of service for some content, to offer the same level of service to all content of that type at no charge.

Net neutrality has strong support from consumer groups, but the many telecoms oppose legislation, saying it will increase the cost of broadband.

Gatekeeping by ISPs (internet service providers) hasn't worked well in the past, and many ISPs did not have much success trying to pin users into one internet content area, Berners-Lee said.

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