Economy Tech and Culture

The Net Neutrality Debate

I am sure everyone is aware of the raging debate over what is being called “Net Neutrality”. There’s a bill pending in the US Senate that deals with how our Internet experience is going to be fed to us in the coming years.

The first time I wrote anything about this ‘corporate plan’ was back in December 2005. The ISPs and telecom service providers were just opening up about this idea back then. What has become of the idea right now is a complete mess, a corporate disaster, and essentially undemocratic.

I supported the idea of charging premium content providers more for bandwidth/visibility services back in December. I still support that, but what this debate has evolved into is essentially trying to block content from a rival Internet content corporation in lieu of service fee. This is devastating, and is going to set up a wrong precedent.

Compare this to paying for long distance voice service. The pricing is generally based on interconnectivity of networks and load/traffic sharing. There’re no tiers of service. I don’t pay any less when I am calling someone on the BellSouth network than someone on the Verizon network. Then, why not the same with the Internet?

It is useless for me to argue about what is good or bad for the Internet. We all know those things very well. What bothers me is the kind of effect something like this could have on smaller content providers (blogs, personal websites, small scale companies) and those based internationally. Why are American Corporations so hell bent on curbing the free flow of information and content globally?

I fear that the Internet could have the same kind of future as radio or television – useless, and too moderated, commercial.

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