Notes From The Margin

September 11, 2007

How The Concept Of Net Neutrality Affects Us

We on the margin are deeply concerned about a debate that is currently taking place in the US on the concept of “net neutrality” or to be more precise whether or not to allow the lack of it.  To break the concept down to a simple level, what is basically being debated in the US corridors of power is whether US telecoms should be able to charge to guarantee delivery of particular streams of packets or information. MIT’s Technology Review puts it this way:

At issue, potentially, is the ability of Internet users to visit the sites they want, with no speed difference in the delivery of data between a site that pays for preferential treatment (say, Google) and one that doesn’t (say, your favorite blog).

There is major money on the table for the winners of this debate, and the two sides are equally powerful:

On one side of the issue stand powerful Internet and software companies such as Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, and Amazon. They — and others — are arguing that all bits should be equal — that a “best effort” should be made to deliver Internet information, regardless of where it comes from.

On the other side are the powerful infrastructure companies, who own the conduits through which the traffic flows, such as Comcast, Bell South, and SBC. They argue that because they own the pipes, they ought to have the right to charge companies such as Google or Apple something extra to “guarantee delivery” of their data.

This of course will affect the fundamental nature of the internet, with far reaching consequences. The potential impacts of this bill if it gets written into law are potentially quite scary.  The site savetheinternet.com lists a number of possible impacts:

How does this threat to Internet freedom affect you?

 

For those of us on the outside of the US we could find ourselves as permanant second class citizens of the web. With things we take for granted such as blogs and the ability to access the US market with the net being automatically assigned to the slow lane. Further what impact will this have on call centres and data intensive offshore businesses that currently use Voice Over IP technology (VOIP)? The demise of Net Neutrality will negate the “death of distance” that has opened many developmental opportunities in the developing world. This is one case where what happens in the US DOES directly affect us on the margins of the globalised world.

 

Over the course of a series of articles we will be looking at Net Neutrality and how it affects us in the Caribbean and in the wider developing world.

 

Marginal

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4 Comments »

  1. […] Notes From The Margin is concerned about the issue of Net Neutrality and how it affects the Caribbean: “For those of us on the outside of the US we could find ourselves as permanent second class citizens of the web.” Share This […]

    Pingback by Global Voices Online » Barbados: Net Neutrality — September 13, 2007 @ 11:32 am | Reply

  2. This is something everyone should be concerned about.

    Comment by Latino Punidt — September 13, 2007 @ 2:34 pm | Reply

  3. […] Notes from the Margin bereitet das Thema Netzneutralität Sorgen, und schreibt darüber, was es für die Menschen in der Karibik bedeuten könnt: “Diejenigen von uns, die nicht in den USA leben, könnten schon bald Netzbürger zweiter Klasse sein”. […]

    Pingback by Global Voices auf Deutsch » Blog Archive » Barbados: Netzneutralität [Linktipp] — September 13, 2007 @ 7:54 pm | Reply

  4. […] (For further information on net neutrality see part 1 of the series HERE) […]

    Pingback by The Demise of Net Neutrality Part 2 - How it will affect Barbados’ And The Caribbean’s Development… « Notes From The Margin — September 15, 2007 @ 2:25 am | Reply


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