Why You Should Care About Net Neutrality

Google and Verizon's joint proposal about net neutrality and their wish to have the Federal Communications Commission adopt it as official policy has sparked debate.  PCMag.com reports that a rally is scheduled for today outside Google headquarters to voice opposition to the Google/Verizon plan and protest its adoption.  To get a sense of what's at stake, here are a couple of good summaries that describe the perceived problems with the proposed regulation: one from PC World and another (with a much more pessimistic doomsday-scenario) from io9.com.  To be fair, here is the point of view from Google on the issue, defending their suggested ideas, as expressed on their Public Policy Blog.

Wikipedia offers a good description of what exactly "net nuetrality" means.  Net neutrality "advocates no restrictions by Internet Service Providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and no restrictions on the modes of communication allowed."

The new proposal by Google and Verizon seems to guarantee net neutrality for the "public Internet" but apparently lays the groundwork for a possible multi-tiered system of premium services. As more and more Internet content becomes delivered through wireless technology, companies like Google and Verizon have a lot at stake in that transmission, and content creators and consumers have an interest in assuring that the playing field is equal for everyone. 

I do not want to see Cyberspace become a "pay-to-play" medium. True net neutrality needs to be applied across the board, through all channels of distribution for Internet content.  Anything less is a failure of the principles of an open Internet.

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