Thursday, April 27, 2006

Net Neutrality

By a mostly party-line vote, Congress removed a requirement of "network neutrality" for ISP's. Most people don't understand what "network neutrality" really means. Here's a thumbnail sketch for you, and why you should care.

Read more...I have a web site (besides this blog). My ISP charges me for the outbound bandwidth my web site uses. You have an ISP that charges you for your connection to the Internet. Most people don't pay an incremental charge for bandwidth, but at some level your ISP pays for the total bandwidth they have available for their customers. Part of that is the bandwidth that is available within their network, and part is the bandwidth to the outside world. That's how things stand now.

What the ISP's want to do is to charge me for the bandwidth that you use to access my web site. You are already paying for that bandwidth. It is not reasonable to ask me to pay for it again. More particularly, the ISP will be able to send its own content to you without paying for the bandwidth, since it's all free within the company. They want to curtail your choice of what content you want to access by putting any web site that doesn't pay a BRIBE into the slow lane.

Network neutrality simply means that you, the consumer, get to decide what you want to see on the Internet. The alternative is that your ISP gets to extort bribes from web sites to get easier access to your eyeballs.

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