Until recently, net neutrality was a difficult issue to explain at a
dinner party. It was even more of a struggle to get anybody worked up
about it. Now, thanks to the major Internet service providers (ISPs)
Comcast and Bell-Sympatico, the stakes are crystal clear and the acrid
scent of a smoking gun hangs in the room.
…it may seem we don’t even need friends, but we do.
A pretty good pro-net neutrality writeup follows.
This is the gist:
Is it in the carriers’ best interest to allow upstart cheap phone
companies like Skype or Vonage to suck up bandwidth with its inexpensive
and excellent service? Nope, but in a free market and a neutral Internet,
upstarts happen. The traditional players just don’t like it much and
want the nonsense to stop.
A group of companies wants to use unused TV bandwidth for the Internet:
The coalition, which includes Microsoft and Google, wants regulators to allow
idle TV channels, known as white space, to be used to beam the Internet into
homes and offices. But the Federal Communications Commission first must be
convinced that such traffic would not bleed outside its designated channels
and interfere with existing broadcasts.
The six partners — Microsoft, Google, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Intel and
Philips — say they can meet that challenge. Today, they plan to give
FCC officials a prototype device, built by Microsoft, that will undergo
months of testing.
If the device passes muster, the coalition says, it could have versions in
stores by early 2009.