Page last updated at 09:28 GMT, Tuesday, 20 October 2009 10:28 UK

Big names support net neutrality

Ethernet cable
The FCC says the internet is at a crossroads

A group of the world's largest internet companies has written a letter of support to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The letter is the latest in an ongoing debate about "network neutrality" - or how data is distributed on the web.

Some internet providers have called for a tiered system, in which bandwidth-heavy data like videos travel slower.

The FCC is opposed to this and wants to preserve an open internet in which all data is treated equally.

The letter, signed by the chief executives of Google, Ebay, Skype, Facebook, Amazon and Sony Electronics among others, says that maintaining data neutrality helps businesses to compete on the basis of content alone.

"An open internet fuels a competitive and efficient marketplace, where consumers make the ultimate choices about which products succeed and which fail," the letter read.

"This allows businesses of all sizes, from the smallest start-up to larger corporations, to compete, yielding maximum economic growth and opportunity."

Other signatories included community websites Digg, Flickr, LinkedIn and Craigslist.

Last month the FCC said that net neutrality should be applied to wireless traffic as well.

Some internet providers and telecommunications companies argue that a tiered system is going to be the only way to keep internet traffic flowing smoothly in the future.

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