Network neutrality is the principle that obliges data carriers, the telecommunication companies that transport internet traffic, to not discriminate as to the content that they transport, they are ‘neutral’ towards it. However, they are campaigning to change it, under the rationale of differentiate service according to the ability to pay. This is very very dangerous for the survival of the internet as we know it, and is very well explained by a Washington Post article, which we quote:
Do you prefer to search for information online with Google or Yahoo? What about bargain shopping — do you go to Amazon or eBay? Many of us make these kinds of decisions several times a day, based on who knows what — maybe you don’t like bidding, or maybe Google’s clean white search page suits you better than Yahoo’s colorful clutter.
But the nation’s largest telephone companies have a new business plan, and if it comes to pass you may one day discover that Yahoo suddenly responds much faster to your inquiries, overriding your affinity for Google. Or that Amazon’s Web site seems sluggish compared with eBay’s.
The changes may sound subtle, but make no mistake: The telecommunications companies’ proposals have the potential, within just a few years, to alter the flow of commerce and information — and your personal experience — on the Internet. For the first time, the companies that own the equipment that delivers the Internet to your office, cubicle, den and dorm room could, for a price, give one company priority on their networks over another.
This represents a break with the commercial meritocracy that has ruled the Internet until now. We’ve come to expect that the people who own the phone and cable lines remain “neutral,” doing nothing to influence the content on your computer screen. And may the best Web site win.” Read more here.
It was the excellent blog of John Lebkowsky which alerted me to the issue.