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An Introduction To Net Neutrality

Posted on November 10, 2010 by Suzanne

Net NeutralityAs an employee of an internet company I consider myself somewhat technically savvy; however, when it comes to net neutrality, I have a hard time explaining and comprehending the idea. I know I must not be the only one, as this topic has been in the news a lot lately with Verizon and Google. So in writing this blog I planned to help others as well as myself better understand what net neutrality is, and what it means for the future of our internet use as consumers.

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the idea that all information is created equal, therefore, it should be available to all users of the internet without the interference of big companies stating what can or can't be viewed. For example, if there was not net neutrality then Google could choose to not allow any Gmail users to receive emails from Yahoo accounts and vice-versa. Also, wireless carriers could sell tiered services that would allow some people to get information faster than others. The reason why secret negotiations between Verizon and Google caused so much outrage is because Google has historically been pro neutrality. The idea of content being controlled by those like Google, Yahoo and ISP’s could mean the internet would slowly start to be run by big companies with their own specific initiatives that may not align with those of the consumer.

Net Neutrality seems to be the web's new battle ground. On one side, backers believe that the internet should be a place void of discrimination, while on the other side, backers think businesses should be able to create a better user experience based on what they think the customer wants. Both sides have good points, but in a world that is controlled more and more by media spin, the internet is one of the last places where both sides of any argument are readily available. I understand that it’s a stretch to think that there would be content that would be totally unavailable in search, but think about China and the restrictions they have on what their population can search. I think once we close the door on net neutrality we open the door to more restrictions that can be put upon the normal consumer.

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