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"Net Neutrality" Threatened?

How real is this threat?

     
11:59 am on Jun 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I admit I am new to this subject and not even sure if this is the right place to post, but how big a threat to us small publishers is this push in Congress by the telecoms (AT&T, Comcast, etc.) to make sites pay a fee so they will download quickly on the user's end, in essence creating a fast lane with a toll? Those of us who won't be able to pay the fees (I imagine they will be hefty since the telecoms want to make as much money as they possibly can) are going to get pushed to the side of the road and no one will be able to download our sites.

Question...how real is this threat? It could potentially change the internet as we know it, and even hurt a site like Google that depends on thousands of small advertisers and publisers.

12:28 pm on June 3, 2006 (gmt 0)

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It is hugely in the interest of telecoms companies to direct people to "walled garden" content that they control - it is a potentially much more profitable business than telecoms.

Two examples: on-line services (like Prestel in Britain) that existed before then net, WAP services that usually only give access to sites approved by the telco.

Having failed to interest anyone in those services, what better than to warp the net into one?

The threat to small publishers is very different from the threat to the likes of Google. For them the risk is smaller profits. We face the additional risk that the level of fees involved may be too high for small players - we might be inaccessible, or so slowed that our sites become unusable.

Fortunately at the moment the threat seems to be receding. If you are in the US and you agree it is a threat tell your elected representatives so.

9:28 am on June 4, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I think that this might be an own goal for the USA. Internet businesses in other countries would benefit from the harm done to small publishers in the USA.
4:37 am on June 8, 2006 (gmt 0)

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I do not think so Nybo, because they will throttle the bandwidth at the vistor's end, not the websites.

So our US vistors will still see our relative performance drop against the sites that stump up the money.

Our non-US visitors will see no difference.

It may still be an own goal for the US in the long run - it will make life more expensive for innovative web start-ups and small publishers in the US, making US based websites less interesting in the long run. However that does not really benefit anyone.