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The principle of net neutrality must be defended if low-income households are to continue accessing digital content, it has been claimed.

Mark Thompson, Director General of the BBC, said internet service providers (ISPs) must continue to treat all web traffic as equal, rather than create a two-tier internet.

"As the web becomes a vehicle for the transport of richer and richer content, the question of whether all content from all providers is treated equally by the networks becomes ever sharper," he stated.

"We know ISPs routinely dampen speeds well below published headline rates. They also have the capability – which they have used in the past, though no major ISP is using it currently – to convey some content from some providers at slower speeds than others."

Mr Thompson said that ISPs should be focused on providing "a very good, and consistently and fairly delivered, service".

The Open Rights Group has continued to campaign against the creation of a two-tier internet, which would see consumers and businesses paying more for high bandwidth services.

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