Net Neutrality: Not So Neutral?

Many consumers are not feeling neutral about net neutrality–the idea that all content streaming in to the Internet should be treated equally.

The words “net neutrality” may sound fair enough, but what this really means is anything but neutral-if net neutrality legislation passes Congress, the companies that are developing innovative new technology for the Internet and the consumers who want to enjoy it will not be treated fairly.

Lobbyists for “net neutrality legislation” are currently asking Congress to pass a bill that will-in essence-stifle innovations such as Internet-based cable TV programming and high-speed broadband networks that are currently being developed by companies such as Verizon and AT&T.

The legislation would force Internet service providers to offer the same speed to Internet companies regardless of the content. So a big business sending out video content would be charged the same as an individual blogger using less bandwidth. It only makes sense that Internet providers be able to set prices based on bandwidth use.

Everyone else-consumers, businesses, broadband providers and the government-must pay a competitive price for the bandwidth they use and for additional features like mobility.

The legislation is a lobbying effort promoted by Web site interests, e-commerce sellers and bloggers who want special government treatment, just for them-one government-set broadband price, with special rates and conditions that consumers don’t get.

In essence, net neutrality is just special-interest legislation, made to sound less self-serving.

Charging companies such as Google and Amazon for their use of the network could help fund new innovations that will one day benefit consumers.

Net neutrality could result in a slower, less responsible Internet; higher broadband prices and taxes for consumers; less diversity in the broadband department; slower broadband deployment to all Americans; and less privacy, because net neutrality would require more government monitoring and surveillance of Internet traffic.

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