Friday, November 6, 2009

What Do You Know About Net Neutrality?

Net Neutrality can be broadly defined as the" idea that the government should mandate that ISP's act as dumb pipes;"(Singel,2009) allowing internet traffic to flow freely without regard to what is contained in the data packets. There have been many opponents to this idea, people that want to see the internet broken into a tiered service where some websites or services are given a priority. The ALA and the FCC both believe that creating a tiered service would greatly hamper businesses and democracy. In a nutshell, opponents of network neutrality believe that companies should be allowed to pay a fee that would allow their websites to become more readily available on the Internet. As of September 2009, the FCC has instituted rules that ensure that the internet remains a neutral and free flowing network. The main opponents of these rules have been Comcast, Verizon and AT&T. Companies like Comcast want to restrict and slow down internet traffic based on the type of traffic. Thankfully the FCC has decided that they not only want to support Net Neutrality but they are also going to expand the rules to include portable devices/ data connections. Before September, there were no official rules that protected net neutrality; instead there were four guiding principles: "network operators cannot prevent users from accessing lawful Internet content, applications, and services of their choice, nor can they prohibit users from attaching non harmful devices to the network" (Reardon, 2009). If you are interested in viewing the FCC commission meeting click on the link below:

Reardon, M. (2009) Amazon, Facebook, and Google back FCC on Net Neutrality.
Singel, R. (2009) FCC Backs Net Neutrality-And Then Some

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