NYT warns against weak foreign Web rules

Regulators in Europe and India are eyeing potentially harmful policies that could undermine the openness of the Internet, according to the New York Times editorial board.

The newspaper on Friday issued an editorial warning against plans that would “hurt consumers” and small Web companies by effectively creating toll roads and “fast lanes” on the Internet.

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If foreign leaders followed through on their plans, they would be deviating from the path set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Times warned.

“One of the main reasons the Internet has been so successful is that people have generally been able to use it how they wish,” the editorial board wrote. “The worst thing policy makers could do to the network would be to allow telecom companies to mess with that.”

While the FCC has embarked on a controversial plan to reclassify broadband Internet service to treat it like a public utility, foreign regulatory agencies are eyeing alternate approached.

In Europe, for instance, the European Council recently adopted a proposal that would prevent Internet service providers from blocking access to particular sites but could allow for quicker speeds for some “specialized” services.

In India, meanwhile, the telecommunications regulator has recently floated the idea of charging people extra more access to particular online services such as YouTube or WhatsApp.