Get Technical: Artificial limits will only hurt customers
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Net neutrality is the core ideal held by the Internet – every Web site or file is accessible by all, over any cable, without artificial limits on download speeds.
The telecom companies don’t like this.
They say this is hurting consumers since they pay for bandwidth they don’t use – bandwidth used for illegal activities such as spamming and fraud – and that the consumers can ensure better service by paying the telecoms more money.
That sounds suspiciously like protection money – "Nice network you’ve got there… it’d be a shame if something were to slow it down."
Notice I didn’t mention peer-to-peer downloading. Not all P2P is piracy. Some well-known bands such as Nine Inch Nails and Harvey Danger have used P2P networks to distribute albums, and software companies like the idea of farming out network capabilities through other users.
But what if those users all had to pay for different levels of service, all based on what services the consumer wanted? The telecoms want to charge the users for the use of casual surfing services, streaming video (a la YouTube) and music (such as Yahoo! Launch), file downloads (like through the iTunes Music Store) and voice over Internet protocol services such as Skype and Vonage.
Every service will cost just a little bit more, but think what you can do for another 10 bucks a month.
Now you can actually watch that silly video clip your cousin emailed you, instead of just reading the link.
Now for the sleazy part – the telecoms are going to charge content providers the same fees to push the information out.
Providers and consumers are getting squeezed on this, and the only winners are the companies who own the cabling and backbone structure the data flows across.