There is talk all over the internet and on capital hill about this “net neutrality” and what it is, and why it’s important. I’ve heard several people try to define it, but Tim Berners-Lee, arguably the inventor of the Web, I think has said it best:
Net neutrality is this:
If I pay to connect to the Net with a certain quality of service, and you pay to connect with that or greater quality of service, then we can communicate at that level.
That’s all. Its up to the ISPs to make sure they interoperate so that that happens.
Net Neutrality is NOT asking for the internet for free.
Net Neutrality is NOT saying that one shouldn’t pay more money for high quality of service. We always have, and we always will.
When I pay my ISP for connecting to the Internet, I pay for the bandwidth for ALL traffic I choose to send an receive. If it is phone traffic (VOIP), web (HTTP) or video (RTSP), I want my bandwidth and quality of service to be the same across all protocols independent of the payload source or destination. The idea that my ISP (currently Verizon) could give priority to their VOIP services, their movie services and their web sites, while slowing or retarding the quality of other competing services seems repugnant to me and simply unfair. Net neutrality is important because it keeps the Internet a level playing field where competition can thrive.