Internet regulation – losing net neutrality

Some of you may have seen on some of the news sites, there is a big debate at present about Net Neutrality and the threat to it.

Net Neutrality is basically the level playing field on which the Internet is based. It allows sites to load at the maximum speed it can, given the infrastructure in place. There is no fundamental, deliberate, throttling in place which would upset the balance.

Dig a little deeper and there is a lot more to it. Basically Internet Service Providers want to control the delivery of the Internet service, to control what we can see and what we can’t. They would also be able to throttle the connections based on who pays what.

Google are heading up the campaign against a bill to give the ISP’s power to control Interne content.

Here is an excerpt from the letter:

Today the Internet is an information highway where anybody – no matter how large or small, how traditional or unconventional – has equal access. But the phone and cable monopolies, who control almost all Internet access, want the power to choose who gets access to high-speed lanes and whose content gets seen first and fastest. They want to build a two-tiered system and block the on-ramps for those who can’t pay.

What does it all mean?

Here are a few points to consider.

Yahoo and MSN might give Wanadoo/talktalk/virgin media a little bonus, which would lead to Google running slowly. (replace Google with any large Internet site).

If we have to pay a high price for our content to be delivered then the small guy making websites will be priced out of the market, leaving the Internet to be run by a small selection of large players.

Growing up in the 80’s I saw the Internet come about. The first time I connected through a modem I was amazed by the endless possibility, the complete freedom to explore. If we lose net neutrality the Internet will become like TV, where we have to buy channels and are forced to see what the providers want us to see. It’s bad enough on TV, imagine if the Internet was like that.

In the UK I believe we will end up losing Net Neutrality sooner rather than later. As a nation we are so scared of what little Jimmy is watching on his broadband connection that we will take censorship no matter what the cost.

The point of this post is to highlight the actual cost of losing the very essence of what makes the Internet great.

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