Net Neutrality Debate Heating Up Again

Fueled by reports that Google and Verizon may be approaching a deal among themselves in talks with the FCC regarding how services are delivered via broadband, in the Net Neutrality debate is heating up again.

A quick primer on Net Neutrality (and I mean quick and simple considering the complexity of the issues):

Essentially proponents of Net Neutrality believe that all data should be treated as equal (bits are bits) and that data should be able to flow through the broadband pipes with no restrictions or with no favoring of one kind of data over another.

Those on the other side, which include the Telcos, feel that they are owed a return on their investment and one of the many ways they can receive that return is to charge users differently for different types of data or data use. Call it premium services, call it tiered pricing, call it whatever.

Proponents of Net Neutrality argue that this would allow a broadband provider to feature its service over someone else’s of a similar type, thus stifling competition.

On all sides, everyone is skeptical about the US government being in a position to “regulate” or “re-regulate” the Internet. The FCC’s role in this has even been called into question legally.

Like I said, quick and simple. The issues really are complex and encompass everything from competition to what many feel are the ridiculously high prices currently charged for SMS messages. (Bits are bits.) What has everyone cranking up posts and articles about this, is that apparently Google and Verizon have been in conversations about an agreement (no one really knows for sure) that those who love conspiracies see as, well, some sort of conspiracy.

My hunch is that all concerned are looking out for their own self interest, as is their right, and that the FCC is trying to find a middle ground of some sort. There’s big money to be made, some would say “money to be printed,” and thus the dance. Secondarily, I think whatever comes of this will be one of those compromises that manages to upset everyone for some reason or the other.

UPDATE: Google is saying that no deal with Verizon has been struck.