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September 3, 2010
For something that seems so simple and straightforward, “
” has sure created one big
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?
came out for net neutrality during his
, his former law review colleague and basketball buddy,
who helped him arrive at that campaign position, is now the chairman of the Federal
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.
professes to be a champion of net neutrality. So does
. 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
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
The F.C.C.’s punt doesn’t begin to get at the turmoil. When Google and
, 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
Talking Business - Net Neutrality Talks Are a Struggle for What We Alrea.