July 18, 2006
Dear CNET members,
Ah, the debate over Net neutrality! What is it and what's all the fuss about? In a nutshell, Net neutrality is the idea that broadband carriers should not be able to configure their networks in any way that plays favorites, which could allow them, for example, to transmit their own services at faster speeds or to charge other Web companies a fee for similar fast delivery. Those that are pro-Net neutrality fear the entire Internet is at risk--that broadband carriers will get Congress's permission to determine what content gets to you first and fastest. This topic continues to be fiercely debated. And speaking of debate, we have our own heated discussion right here on CNET. In the right corner, we have CNET.com executive editor Molly Wood, who believes that we must have legislation to protect the open and equal nature of the Net or the Net must be regulated as a utility, just like highways and water pipes--and we must have one or the other right away. Otherwise, she says, the telcos and the cable companies pushing for a tiered Internet will cheerfully turn it into a lopsided disaster filled with perfectly accessible content created by those very same telcos and cable companies. In the left corner, we have Scott Cleland, chairman of NetCompetition.org, which is funded by telecom, wireless, and cable companies. Cleland believes that Net neutrality will, among other things, restrict a consumer's choice in broadband services as well as slow the deployment of broadband across the country. See where the debate was born by reading the latest Buzz report column, "Net neutrality: bring it on." This is an open forum for all of you to discuss, so if you have a perspective on Net neutrality, join in and speak your mind!
This week's hot topic:
Net neutrality legislation
Net neutrality isn't an easy debate to summarize, but it sure does get people talking. Do you worry that telcos will start charging for Internet access à la carte, depending on what sites you want to visit? Or will government regulation mean broadband companies won't be properly funded to continue building faster networks? Read the latest Buzz Report "Net neutrality: bring it on" and share your thoughts.
Equal voices, equal time?
In this fiery post, Scott Cleland tells Molly that she doesn't "have much sympathy for the constitutional rights of others to have due process," and says she has "refuse(d) to grant me equal time to rebut your mis-informed commentary."
Read Scott Cleland's full post in CNET TalkBack
Already in the spotlight
In her own rebuttal, Molly points out that by her estimation, he's already written "several guest columns at this point," which have been promoted along with Molly's original article.
Read Molly's full post in CNET TalkBack
Here's an idea--do nothing
While many have taken a stand on one side or another, member maximum4x4 suggests we take a wait -and-see approach for now. The idea has sparked a discussion, with other members responding to this idea. What's your opinion?
Read maximum4x4's full post in CNET TalkBack
There is no neutral in the word profit
CNET member bdennis410 says this is all a move by the telcos to make more money. He sees more fees and higher rates down the road and feels the telcos should invest their own money in infrastructure improvements and construction. Is this a reasonable expectation of a company?
Read bdennis410's full post in CNET TalkBack
Government should represent the citizens
While acknowledging telcos' need to turn a profit, CNET member JonDeutsch believes government should act as the capitalist referee and step in to speak for the people. Do you agree?
Read JonDeutsch's full post in CNET TalkBack
When it comes to Net neutrality, who do you think should have control over the Internet--the service providers or the content providers? Can the market work it out, or do we need legislative help? Read the latest Buzz Report, "Net neutrality: bring it on," then speak up in the TalkBack section.
Net neutrality showdown
From CNET News.com
Me vs. telco lobbyist Scott Cleland
From Alpha: The CNET blog
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