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Skype, eBay and Yahoo urge government to commit to Net neutrality

Online companies including Skype and eBay have called on the British government to enforce Net neutrality and ensure a fair and open Internet.

Online companies have called on the British government to enforce a fair and open Internet. Nineteen organisations, including eBay, Skype, Yahoo and the National Union of Journalists, have signed a letter to Ed Vaizey, the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills, who recently advocated a "two-speed Internet" in which websites could pay ISPs to priority their content over other sites.

That goes against the principle of Net neutrality, which guarantees all services have the same access to the Web.

The 19 companies applauded Vaizey's assertions that "consumers should always have the ability to access any legal content or service" and "content and service providers should have the ability to innovate".

The letter then identifies key principles to "preserve the end-to-end principle that underpins the Internet, and the benefits it brings to citizens, consumers, businesses and economic growth".

They argue the Web should be open, traffic management should be limited and transparent, infrastructure investment should be Net-neutral, and regulation should enforce Net neutrality.

The signatories believe that, "Traffic management should be kept to a minimum, and deployed for purely technical, security or legal reasons." They're against the possibility of ISP and networks favouring services and content that pays for better treatment.

ISPs already manage traffic, known as throttling, to ease the burden on their networks of high-bandwidth or busy services. If allowed to prioritise paying services, ISPs could hold Web speeds to ransom.

The letter calls for politicians to think net neutrality through and implement recent EU law on the subject. It also urges the government to force ISPs to get their Net neutrality fingers out, and give Ofcom a kick up the 'arris to make it happen.

The letter was signed by Coadec, Ariadne Capital, Consumer Focus, eBay, Eden Ventures, IMRG, the NUJ, the Open Rights Group, the Oxford Internet Institute, Reevoo, Skype, Techhub, Truphone, The Filter, We7, Which, XIX and Yahoo Europe. It's not been reported who paid for the stamp.

Exactly a year ago today eBay and Yahoo joined Facebook and Google in signing an open letter to Peter Mandelson, protesting the unelected and twice-disgraced peer's Digital Britain copyright plans.