Too late, (though I still emailed my congressmen), I spent some time trying to learn more, and I still am. I'm trying to understand what is fair and what makes sense.
The gist is that in the USA, the phone and cable companies like ATT, Comcast and Verizon want to take over the Internet and essentially own it. But before they invest the billions it will take to upgrade and maintain the infrastructure (phone lines, cable), they want the US Gov't to promise that it will be worth their investment.
So they want to be paid back.
To do that, they need money from us. They need money from big Internet-based companies like Google, Amazon, Ebay, Yahoo! and others like them . Also, the not high profit, like Craigslist, to pay to be accessed by you and me. DSL and cable providers will charge us differently by offering tier services based on things like what websites we use the most and how we use the Internet.
For example, if you are heavy users of online games and social networking, you will pay more for the bandwidth than the senior citizen who only searches once in awhile and emails their family on occasion. Businesses and companies who access the Internet will pay more than consumers. I'm not sure what happens to free Wireless, but I've seen concerns brought up about it by cities that are thinking of offering it city-wide. Some say this is the end of the Internet as we know it, here in the USA.
Besides the tier-based payment, there is said to be (or a fear that) that the ISP's will decide what search engine you will get depending which one partners with them to have the fastest delivery speed. So for example, Verizon customers if partnered with Yahoo! will get that search engine as their default and it will also be the one that downloads faster. Should they prefer Google, they will have to wait longer.
I have read that content discrimination is not part of the Net Neutrality bill. However, it doesn't take much imagination to wonder what a religious-owned ISP will block from consumers if they want to. There are more and more TV cable channels that target specific markets and belief systems. ISP's could do exactly the same thing and only provide access to specific sites. For parents, this might be a good thing.
As I read the comments and articles, pro and con, I keep wondering what this means for web design and SEO? Search engines are getting better at delivering results based on where you live and who you are. How would these changes effect how you apply SEO techniques? What does this do to marketing efforts on behalf of web sites? If Google Adsense Ads no longer reach EVERYBODY, what happens then? How does this work on an Internet where the consumer web site viewing choices are based on how much they can afford or what their ISP will provide?
We've been used to designing, optimizing and marketing for an International, fairly wide cross section of people. We know many of our efforts don't get past Chinese censors. What will it be like if the "censors" are phone companies in the USA? If you incorporate video into sites, do consumers have to pay more to view the web site? What does this mean to sites built outside the USA, who are accessed by American users?
Here are some quotes to consider and links. What do you think about this?
- Mike McCurry
Let's put this issue in a larger context: The Internet is on the verge of one of the most dramatic breakthroughs in its history. Pretty soon, more and more Internet users will be streaming data-rich video into their homes, using the Web for online games, practicing telemedicine and having voice conversations.
But standing in the way of these benefits is the need for substantial network upgrades. Face it, the current Internet is creaky and will quickly get congested without improvements.
The Internet providers need to recoup their investments and one way is to charge a premium for managing bandwidth content differently. The need for this is self-evident: Data from a video or phone conversation has to be prioritized differently than data from a standard Web site access.
Craig Newmark, founder of craigslist.org
Here's a real world example that shows how this would work. Let's say you call Joe's Pizza and the first thing you hear is a message saying you'll be connected in a minute or two, but if you want, you can be connected to Pizza Hut right away. That's not fair, right? You called Joe's and want some Joe's pizza. Well, that's how some telecommunications executives want the Internet to operate, with some Web sites easier to access than others. For them, this would be a money-making regime.
The Day the Wild, Carefree and Sexy Internet Died
House rejects Net neutrality rules
"Net Neutrality" loses to telecom and cable lobbying
Slashdot- Net Neutrality Voted Down in U.S. House Committee
A Note to Google Users on Net Neutrality
The Struggle for Net Freedom
The Internet's Future Congress should stay out of cyberspace.
Not So Neutral
Edited by cre8pc, 14 June 2006 - 10:03 PM.