Network Neutrality Debate Update

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The debate swirling around network neutrality, a principle of Internet regulation—particularly broadband regulation—has been ongoing and will be voted on as part of a broader communications reform bill by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee in approximately a week.

 

Although network neutrality suggests that in order to maximize human welfare, information networks should be as neutral as possible between various uses or applications—and if necessary, the government should intervene to promote or preserve the neutrality of the network—some high-speed Internet broadband providers are trying to charge more to guarantee access and service quality. However, Internet content companies like Google want lawmakers to bar this from happening.

 

So far, in 2006, the U.S. Congress considered numerous legislative measures. According to a June 12 Reuters article, “One possible compromise on Net neutrality could be adopting language approved last week by the U.S. House of Representatives bill, according to one committee aide. It gave the Federal Communications Commission the authority to enforce principles the agency backed last year. Those principles called on broadband providers to provide consumers unfettered access to Internet content and permit them to use whatever legal applications and services that are available.”

The network neutrality legislation discussion is likely to continue because many people often debate the degree to which the Internet can be said to be “neutral” in either design or practice because packet-switched data networks delay traffic in proportion to instantaneous load by design.

 

Well, by next week the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee will hopefully be approaching the closing stages on this weighty issue. Stay tuned….

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