Net Neutrality Primer
The phone companies say they don't want to interfere with any Internet traffic traversing their networks. They support net neutrality. But they want to offer higher-quality managed connections for a fee, so that some content makers can reach their customers with a higher-quality experience.
The phone companies really want the whole net neutrality issue to drop so that no legislation is passed that specifies how they are to transmit video traffic on their own networks. This would force them to stop sending TV channels as a privately managed service. They would have to send their content as they would email or any other IP traffic, resulting in poor-quality TV for the consumer.
Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), Yahoo Inc. (Nasdaq: YHOO), and loads of other patchouli wearers say they need new laws that will keep the phone companies from tampering with Internet traffic that competes with the IP-based services they (the phone companies) want to provide. The fear they perpetuate is that the phone companies would somehow risk offending million of customers just so they could stick it to a competitor by "degrading" a VOIP or Internet video service.
The patchouli wearers really want the government to make a law that puts the facilities-based carrier services on equal footing with every other type of IP content out there. That, it seems, would obliterate the phone companies' ability to charge content providers for some kinds of manage services such as higher-quality connections to consumers.
If this crude distillation of the argument on both sides is anywhere near accurate, then it appears that the phone companies are in the right. The phone companies, it appears, aren't aiming to stifle the Internet or the content traversing it. If they were, why don't they have policies on how to handle P2P traffic?
It seems to me the phone companies just want to get a bigger paycheck for better service. And that sounds perfectly reasonable to me (but I'm the lunatic pushing for services companies to stop cutting back on truck rolls).
Essay question: If we all had 100 Mbit/s to the home, would this even be an issue?
— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading