With all the buzz going on about ‘net neutrality, it might be good to actually understand what it means and why it matters.Ã‚Â So if you don’t already have all the necessary information on what the whole net neutrality issue is, read up on the How Stuff Works Network Neutrality Primer.
The net neutrality debate is divided into two camps: Fighting against net neutrality are the telecom companies and cable providers, who provide Internet access to consumers. Opposing them are content providers like Google, Amazon, and non-profits like MoveOn.org and the National Religious Broadcasters. But what are they fighting about?
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Defeating net neutrality would give telecom companies the ability to charge content-providers (like Google, eBay and Amazon) to use their bandwidth and, in essence, have access to their subscribers. Not only would the content providers have access to the telecom subscribers, by paying they would have preferred access — higher bandwidth and better delivery of their content. At the heart of this strategy is the telecoms’ claim that they need revenue to make necessary updates to Internet infrastructure. Emerging technologies and media require improvements, they say, and the money has to come from somewhere.
Those in favor of regulation worry that telecoms will abuse their control and punish companies that won’t pay up. Catherine Yang of “Business Week” explains that, “The network operators could block consumers from popular sites such as Google, Amazon, or Yahoo! in favor of their own. Or they could degrade delivery of Web pages whose providers don’t pay extra. Google’s home page, for instance, might load at a creep, while a search engine backed by the network company would zip along.”
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Two main voices have emerged, each supporting one side of the issue. Confusingly, both organizations’ mission is to “save the Internet.” HandsOff.org, or “Hands off the Internet,” is in favor of the telecoms. In favor of Net Neutrality is SavetheInternet.com. Consider each of their positions in their own words (for a more exhaustive representation of their purposes and goals, visit their Web sites).
There’s a large chunk of what the article covers, but there’s more to learn.Ã‚Â The primer explains what net neutrality is, why it matters, and what some well-known “experts” are saying about the issue.
[tags]Network neutrality, How Stuff Works, LifeHacker[/tags]