I’m assuming the greater portion of our readership (on a semi-technical niche news site) is familiar with what net neutrality is, as a whole. If not, educate yourself. Now I can pretty much assume that anyone who reads that Wikipedia article will come back feeling quite pro-net neutrality. The problem arises in deciding who enforces this free flow of information. Everyone wants this control. Internet service providers (ISP’s) want to control their network to stop bandwidth hogs that are filesharing or just use the internet like fishes use water. Large coroporations also want this control in the hands of ISP’s because their deep coffers could allow them to compete unfairly in a world where the content with the most advertising dollars and not the content with the most relevance shows up on your google query. The FCC also wants this control to guarantee that ISP’s and corporations don’t violate net neutrality. ISP’s and corporations are saying that by stepping in and forcing ISP’s to adhere to net neutrality that the FCC is violating the policy its own policy of no regulation. This is the debate, as it sits with our representatives. Recently there was a closed door hearing (that was supposed to be public) between the FCC, several major corporations, and ISP’s in order to come to a conclusion on this subject. Just like any conversation with politicians, it went no where. Following this debacle Verizon Wireless and Google said that they would begin to abide by their proposal for net neutrality that was submitted during these talks and let me tell you, it’s a bunch of horse crap. They plan on being about as neutral as Doug Simmons in an Android vs anything else battle.
The long and short of this whole business is Verizon and Google throwing everyone under the bus but themselves. Basically they’ve set down in their proposal that all wired ISP’s (like Time Warner or Comcast) will fall under the FCC’s regulatory authority, but all wireless providers(AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, etc.) due to their specialized nature, are exempt in order to mantain network integrity/screw their customers. Now this isn’t law or anything because no one in our Government has had the balls to do anything about it, but Google and Verizon have said that until a law is passed that they will begin to abide by their own proposal. Basically, violating net neutrality, until someone tells them to stop. Regardless of where you stand on the matter this is clearly in Google’s favor and not the consumer, blasting all sorts of holes in the “Don’t be evil” crap they like to flaunt.
The only argument I’ve seen that takes the consumer into account on an anti-net neutrality argument is if you don’t like the policy of your ISP then you can switch. Where as, if the FCC makes a blanket policy you’re stuck with it. I don’t know how a blanket policy of net neutrality enforced by the FCC could be bad but either way let’s play along for a second to see how this plays out. Assuming your ISP doesn’t have a policy you like, how many cable internet providers do you have available? 99% of the time it’s only one, because it costs thousands of dollars to lay a foot of cable in the ground, which is why the FCC regulates cable providers in the first place. Google and Verizon are attempting to use the new internet medium as an excuse to break from this traditional regulation. Without a solid net neutrality policy in place the internet you once knew, loved, and hated would be at the whim of a corporation who could turn your Google search results into nothing but advertised links (at least on your phone.)