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You are hereHome > Articles > Net Neutrality

Net Neutrality

The Internet is, and should, remain a level playing field for everyone. But if telecoms have their way, they will be able to control what people see and do online.

You may not be aware of it, but US Politicians are being lobbied real hard by telecom firms to reject the principle of Net Neutrality -- that there should not be any tolls on the Internet.

Telecom companies want to be allowed to start charging tolls and they reject the idea that the Internet should be "neutral, fair and free."

Speaking at a conference in late May, web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee warned that the net faced entering a "dark period" if access suppliers were allowed to choose which traffic to prioritise.

If telecoms win this battle, it means that small firms, like yours truly, will not be able to compete with larger sites: to be allowed to provide large bandwidth photos in their original sizes, we'll have to pay the telecoms to cruise on the fast lane -- or else be relegated to the slow lanes [and slow downloads].

You [as we] already pay for Internet access (fast or slow, depending on your connection package), but now as a business, we will also have to pay an extra toll to allow you to access our site.

It's time to write your senators and sound off on the importance of Net Neutrality -- that telecoms should not be given the right to play favorites among different web sites. They should not be allowed to control which sites you visit and how you experience them.

The Internet is, and should, remain a level playing field for everyone.

Think about it this way. Whether you use your phone to call a friend for a friendly chat or to place a multi million-dollar order with Company A, the phone company does not charge Company A for that phone call. That's how the Internet works today. But the telecoms want to change that and be allowed to charge Company A and get a cut of that deal. It evokes images of once "Highway Robbers" blocking the way of a stagecoach on the road to town, and demanding to be paid to allow it to continue on its journey.

Net Neutrality is an important principle that has made the Internet what it is today. Imagine signing onto the Internet and finding that access to your favorite sites have been barred by the telecoms. Not only are they charging for you to access the Internet, they now want to control what you can see: If I don't pay up, Photoxels will be as good as invisible to you. Or if I can't pay for premium visibility, you'll only be able to download pictures in the slow lane [even though you -- and I -- already paid for fast access].

Vinton Cerf, a co-inventor of the Internet Protocol (IP), said it probably the most succintly: "allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success."

Net neutrality in the common carrier sense has been instantiated into law in many countries, including the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Japan.

There are many dumb ideas [and people] in the world, and rejecting Net Neutrality out of greed ranks among one of the dumbest there is.

The Debate @ Net Neutrality:

For [a free Internet] - Craig Newmark of craiglist.org

Against [on telecoms side] - Mike McNurry

Links: BBC News, Wikipedia, SpotShoppingGuide

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