24 April, 2006

Net Neutrality: Part 2

I did some more research on Net Neutrality, and learned more about how big of an issue this is. The issue is that cable companies and telcos are pushing to charge more for premium services, such as video content. Further, they want to throttle back the bandwidth allocated to content not purchased or provided by them -- unless the content providers pay them for the bandwidth -- bandwidth they are already paying for.

Consider this, content providers already pay for bandwidth every time someone downloads content off their servers -- this is how their network service provider collects revenue for services rendered. The cable and telephone companies want the content providers to pay them again for their content to travel over their network to your home or business, which you have already paid for too. Many folks also believe that without net neutrality, network discrimination would slow economic growth and innovation. Net Neutrality advocates include Yahoo, eBay, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and IAC/InterActiveCorp.

The telcos, cable companies, and other advocates against Net Neutrality present three arguments:
  1. Through increased revenue that the carrier would gain, the funds would be put towards growing their network infrastructure.
  2. It provides a way to counter bandwidth congestion.
  3. For Net Neutrality to work, it would require government intervention, which is not good for anyone.
Personally, I think the first two items are the same, and though I do not generally welcome government intervention, but if that is what is required to keep the telcos and cable companies from increasing the cost due to monopolistic control, I would welcome it. Finally, the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Japan already have Net Neutrality laws on the books. If you want to get more involved in this topic, check out the Free Press website.

Some of my resources included Wikipedia and Free Press.