At a key debate into the future of the web ISPs have defended their right to operate a two-speed internet. The debate was organised by the government, which is keen to see the principles of a free and equal net maintained. ISPs are increasingly looking to prioritise some traffic on their networks and block some.

Major content providers such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook and Skype, are growing increasingly concerned about how the issue of net neutrality is being dealt with. Net neutrality is the principle that all net traffic should be treated equally but this has been challenged in recent years as ISPs look to make a return on their increasingly expensive networks. They argue that if content providers want to pay to get their internet traffic prioritised, then they should be allowed to do so.

But there is plenty of opposition from other content owners who argue that such a policy would do long-term damage to the internet, which was always conceived as a platform for everyone – not just those with deep pockets.

Net neutrality has been a key issue in Europe and a raft of legislation comes into force in May which will force ISPs to be more open about how they manage the traffic on their networks.