Network Neutrality: Why it really matters?

June 7, 2006

Let’s hope Congress does the right thing and adds in adequate protection to guarantee Network Neutrality as life without it could really suck. Can you imagine a world where people who use Verizon as their ISP not being able to get to Google as Microsoft is paying Verizon to make MSN the preferred search engine. So all traffic to Google could be blocked or QOS’d down to a trickle. Can you imagine using a 4 MBps Internet connection where your connection to Google or other sites is a trickle of 56 Kbps? Can you imagine your Skype call sounding like crap because you are using AT&T as an ISP and they would rather sell you their VoIP services?

It’s funny how the Telecommunication companies essentially want to blackmail content providers and consumers. When I surf to Google or Flickr or Digg or Live.com, I am using my local Internet connection that I pay for – Sites like Google, Flickr and Digg also pay for the bandwidth they use and so the consumer is paying to get to the provider and the provider is paying to connect to the Internet. But my ISP now wants to give one company priority on their networks over another, for a price. Sounds pretty shady, doesn’t it?

Can you imagine how this would just totally kill innovation on the Internet? If we don’t get Network Neutrality, innovative companies like YouTube, Flickr, del.icio.us and countless others would have never been able to launch as they wouldn’t have been able to pay the Telecom companies extortion. Google, Microsoft and Yahoo would be able to afford it but new upstarts would be left out and can you imagine a world where there is no real competition? Look at Microsoft and Internet Explorer – After Netscape died, Microsoft essentially disbanded the IE team and didn’t add any new features in the browser for almost 6 years. Competition is critical and fuels innovation and without competition, we have stagnation and the consumer suffers.

Web2.0 or Bubble2.0, depending on your perspective has largely been made possible by the ubiquity of the high-speed Internet access. Even Al Gore, the creator of the Internet has spoken up on this issue. 🙂 At a recent speech, Al Gore said “Freedom of communication is an essential prerequisite for the restoration of the health of our democracy. It is particularly important that the freedom of the Internet be protected against either the encroachment of government or the efforts at control by large media conglomerates.” (Via FreePress.net)

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