Sunday, 5 December 2010

Virgin maintains Net Neutrality stance

Many, many column inches were generated as a result of comments made by Virgin Media chief executive Neil Berkett in 2008 that Net Neutrality as a concept was essentially "a load of bollocks", although less coverage was given to the fact that his comments were taken out of context.

In the wake of the recent comments by communications minister Ed Vaizey and a letter to him by many tech giants, Berkett was asked last week whether the company's views had changed - and in essence he said they hadn't.

Asked of his view, Berkett said to BBC Radio 4's Media Show:
"It hasn't changed.

I think we need to come back to the position and say how do we go about funding the internet in the UK? And we do it by having a highly, highly competitive market where our prices for the internet are something like half the prices in the US.

Therefore restricting potential investment by the internet service providers by putting a regime such as net neutrality in place I think is the wrong thing.

Having said that, whatever you do in this space must be completely transparent."
IT law blog OUT-LAW.COM clarified Berkett's comments with Virgin's press office:
A Virgin Media spokesman said today that there was a "fundamental difference" between technical traffic management and discriminating between content based on who had produced that content. "There are no plans to do the latter," he said.
Virgin recently implemented a system of traffic shaping the (largely pirated content heavy) main P2P networks as well as News traffic, which appears to have resulted in an overall increase in throughput speeds received by their customers.