Testifying today before the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, Sir Tim called upon Congress to ensure that the explosion of innovations happening on the Web not be slowed by limits imposed by Internet gatekeepers.
Net Neutrality an 'Obvious Requirement'
Rep. Greg Walden (R-Oregon) asked Berners-Lee to prioritize the one or two policy priorities that Congress should solve in the short term.
"I hope that the Net Neutrality thing is a short-term thing," Sir Tim replied. "In most of the world people regard Net Neutrality as such an obvious requirement that I hope [the solution] will be short term."
"The Web took off in all its glory because it was a royalty-free infrastructure," Sir Tim said, reiterating his earlier warnings against threats by phone and cable companies to impose new tolls on Web traffic.
Freeing Up the Connection
"Non-discriminatory Internet provision is very important for a society based on the World Wide Web. I think that is very important," Sir Tim said in response to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-California), who asked for an explanation of how an absence of non-discrimination rules would impact the development of the Web.
"The communication medium is so important to society we have to give it a special treatment … I will always be in favor of erring on the side of keeping the medium to be the blank sheet -- of allowing me, if I connect to the Internet, to connect to everyone else."
In June 2006, Sir Lee said that he was concerned about threats by phone and cable companies to constrain access to Web sites that don't pay their extortionate fees:
"When I invented the Web, I didn't have to ask anyone's permission," he said. "Now, hundreds of millions of people are using it freely. I am worried that that is going end in the USA."During his testimony today Sir Lee, who is now based in the US as a senior researcher at MIT, expanded upon these concerns from the perspective of a Web-based business:
"If we had a situation in which the U.S. had serious flaws in its Net Neutrality ... and [a country in] Europe did have Net Neutrality and I were trying to start a company, then I would be very tempted to move."
The Human Web
Subcommittee chair Ed Markey (D-Mass.) asked Sir Lee to elaborate on his concerns about royalty-free proposals for the Web and how such royalties might have affected his work had they been a part of his original design for the Web.
"Chairman Markey let me assure you that if I had charged from the word go, per click, the World Wide Web would not have taken off at all. We would not be here talking about it.>> Read Subcommittee Vice Chair Mike Doyle's opening remarks
"Had there been a fee there would have been no investment. The investment people made in the Web was made by volunteers in their garages late at night. … I myself was allowed by my boss to do it in spare time. People did it in their ten percent time. And if there had been any pay-per-click, if there had been any form of fee, they would not have gone anywhere near it."
>> My Original Post at Savetheinternet.com