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The Network Neutrality Issue In A Nutshell

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Posted on October 12 2010 9:26 pm
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Network Neutrality is an extraordinarily complex subject. Even explaining it in a way that people can understand is difficult to do. That problem is compounded by the fact that a lot of what you read about net neutrality is just plain old wrong. Perhaps worse yet, given the complexity involved, the government is looking to further regulate the Internet. That’s really scary given the knowledge level that many of the old fogeys in Congress and at the FCC have of the issue. At some point, we’re likely to have people who barely know how to use their email putting together rules that will have the potential to stifle the growth of the Internet in the United States. How do I know all this? Well, I used to work for an ISP wholesaler that dealt with backbone issues. I’ve also had long conversations with heavies at Verizon about this topic and I’ve done some net neutrality consulting work on behalf of USIIA. So, I get this.

Now, let’s break this down to the basic-basic level and tell you the bare minimum of what you need to know.

First off, what is net neutrality? Here’s a good definition:

Columbia University Professor Tim Wu, who wrote about the subject in 2003, has said, “Network neutrality is best defined as a network design principle. The idea is that a maximally useful public information network aspires to treat all content, sites, and platforms equally.” For consumers, this means that they are able to use their internet connection for any purpose they see fit.

That description is essentially how the internet works as we speak.

So, what’s the debate over?

Continue reading at Right Wing News.

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