Monday, September 9, 2013

The Future Of Net Neutrality

Are all video streams created equal or do some have more power over others?  And should money dictate who gets the right -of-way on the information highway?  That certainly may be part of what comes from the District Court case between Verizon and the FCC.

What is true is that yesterday's laws regarding telephone access and telecommunication have changed dramatically with the rise and growth of the internet.  The influx of more devices, broadband and, video streaming have created a more complex superhighway that no longer abides by the old rules. And the result has been a concern about access, speed, and preference.

According to "Susan Crawford, a tech policy expert and professor at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law who served as Special Assistant to President Obama for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy. 'The question presented by the case is: Does the U.S. government have any role in ensuring ubiquitous, open, world-class, interconnected, reasonably priced Internet access?'” If not, then should the businesses that have built these highways and access points, companies like Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and others, have the final say in issuing access, speed limits, and right of way?  Ultimately, is the web a regulated, open highway or a private turnpike?

Net neutrality laws were designed to assure that all web traffic was treated equally by the provider of broadband and wireless services.  No favoritism or HOV lanes to the ones that pay an extra fee.  For the companies that have spent huge amounts of capital building these online highways, they believe that "they should have more latitude in deciding what content travels over those networks."  It is a classic case between private business and public policy.  Which way the District Court decides matters little; it is the kind of case that ultimately must find itself in front of the Supreme Court.  Concerns on both sides of the issue are plenty and the final decision will have huge repercussions.


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