Virgin Media CEO Neil Berkett has attacked the principle of net neutrality, whereby internet service providers do not interfere with or degrade the speed at which content is delivered from websites to consumers, branding it as “bollocks”.
Berkett’s cable operator ranks as the second largest internet service provider in the UK with approximately 3.6m customers.
In an interview with the Royal Television Society’s Television magazine, Berkett said that “this net neutrality thing is a load of bollocks”, and revealed that Virgin is already in talks with unnamed content providers about paying to have their content delivered faster than others.
Feeding into the debate between internet service providers and the BBC over iPlayer, Berkett even warned that public service broadcasters who choose not to pay for faster access to Virgin’s subscriber base would end up in “bus lanes”, effectively having their content delivered to consumers at a lower speed.
Thus far, Ofcom has made little comment on the network neutrality debate. In 2007, long before the current iPlayer discussions, the then Ofcom policy chief Douglas Scott indicated that the regulator planned a “hands off” approach to the issue. Scott has since departed the regulator for Channel 4.
[nb. in original article ‘bollocks’ was censored, I however filled in the full word as I hate censorship like a motherfucking cunt].
Note how a regulator has joined a corporation directly involved in the sector he was paid to regulate on the public behalf, the corporatocracy abide! Also via the same Boing Boing post that alerted me to this some history of what Virgin media really is (although I hold no affection for Branson, a public school elite egomaniac -if you think he is a friendly beardy man of the people, then go see Marie Antoinette, I hear she has some cake for you- so you can stick the brand up your arse)-
Charlie’s Diary: Around 1997, the UK installed a cable TV and cable internet infrastructure. Digging up hundreds of thousands of streets is expensive, so two limited-term regional monopolies were granted to cable operators, NTL and Telewest. After a while they began rolling out broadband internet on their networks (around 2000, if memory serves), and underwent the harsh learning curve associated with becoming an ISP. Then something obvious happened. In 2006, the two loss-making cablecos merged to form one mammoth blundering mess, NTL/Telewest. And also in 2006, the new hybrid purchased Branson’s Virgin Mobile brand (then a cellphone franchise) and began the process of rebranding, from February 2007, as Virgin Media.
So tediously here we go for the UK, corporations want to turn this into a class/capital stratified web. The people most responsible for the internet are steadfastly against this and enthusiastically back net neutrality, only money grubbing suits want to wreck this and turn it into a McInternet. At a time when corporate dominance in the world is starting to be challenged as people awake to the hateful ideology behind it for the internet to fall to them would be terrible.
A friend of mine used to rent a flat in central London that overlooked what was then the ITC’s offices (they were absorbed into Ofcom a few years ago, 03). We could see in quite easily and observed that the senior management were rarely there and enjoyed lunch breaks of an average 3 hours, a lot of the rest of the staff also enjoyed very flexible lunches. We concluded it must be a great job and maybe a lot of the people they regulate were anxious to be friendly with them and invited them to long lunches, who knows? Anyway Ofcom taking a hands off approach is tantamount to doing the corporations jobs of destroying Net Neutrality. We must insist on legislation enshrining the NetNeutral principle in law before they surreptitiously do away with it. What this ultimately shows is how crucial infrastructure should be publicly owned in a democratic context and responsive to the citizen’s, paid for by just and redistributive taxes on …corporations. That would require a government of, by and for the people, not the corporate incest we have now. Oh well you can dream.