NYT+090310+-+The+Struggle+for+What+We+Already+Have

NYT+090310+-+The+Struggle+for+What+We+Already+Have -...

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Reprints This copy is for your personal, noncommercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers here or use the "Reprints" tool that appears next to any article. Visit www.nytreprints.com for samples and additional information. Order a reprint of this article now. September 3, 2010 By JOE NOCERA For something that seems so simple and straightforward, “ net neutrality ” has sure created one big mess. Net neutrality, of course, is the principle that Internet service providers should not be allowed to favor some Internet content over other content by delivering it faster. Really, who could be against such a thing? President Obama came out for net neutrality during his presidential campaign. Julius Genachowski , his former law review colleague and basketball buddy, who helped him arrive at that campaign position, is now the chairman of the Federal Communication Commission. Right-thinking public interest groups, like Public Knowledge (“Fighting for your digital rights in Washington”) are fierce, unyielding proponents of net neutrality, viewing its goodness as obvious. Google professes to be a champion of net neutrality. So does Skype . Even the Internet service providers say they favor it. And yet, here we are, a year and a half into the Obama presidency, and net neutrality is no closer to being encoded in federal regulation than it was when George W. Bush was president. Just this week, the F.C.C. asked for comments on two of the issues surrounding net neutrality, issues that have been hashed over for months. It was an obvious effort to push any decision beyond the midterm elections. The F.C.C.’s punt doesn’t begin to get at the turmoil. When Google and Verizon , a month ago, put together a well-meaning proposal for enforceable net neutrality rules, the two companies were vilified by the net neutrality purists — because they wanted to exempt wireless. “There was universal condemnation of Google for abandoning its ‘don’t be evil’ ethos,” said Art Brodsky, the chief spokesman for Public Knowledge — the very group that was leading said condemnation. In the wake of the Google-Verizon announcement, the F.C.C. abruptly called off talks among the various parties aimed at coming up with net neutrality rules. The talks have since been restarted, more or less, though without the involvement of the F.C.C. Yet even if the talks succeed, the resulting framework wouldn’t have the force of law, so it is hard to know precisely what they would accomplish. Talking Business - Net Neutrality Talks Are a Struggle for What We Alrea.
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