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Report: The Net Has Never Been Neutral

  • Wired, Wednesday, May 31, 2006 11 AM
Wired summarizes the current state of net neutrality in Congress, outlining the subtle differences in the six competing bills sifting through the Senate and House of Representatives. Some favor broadband providers, others favor net neutrality--the idea that access to bandwidth should be equal and unfettered. However, when you take a deeper look at how the interlacing networks work together, you see that there's nothing neutral about the way traffic is rerouted and blocked everyday. In fact, the article says, "ISPs must often fight to get their data carried on neighboring networks, and those who are willing to pay extra reap immediate benefits in the form of faster and better service." Several CTOs quoted in the Wired story agree that the Net isn't "as egalitarian as people would like to think it is." To be sure, the stakes surrounding the net neutrality debate are high--especially as a handful of corporate giants are acquiring their way into controlling the Internet pipes, and traditional media converts to being delivered over Internet protocol. The lengthy report describes the nuances of each bill, and concludes that both sides of the issue have a point. However, corporations and politicians have been polarized into extreme positions, and the best recourse after all may be some kind of compromise, which may take a painstakingly long time to pan out. Let the lobbying begin, indeed.

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