Network Neutrality - To be Neutral
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Yes, content providers are providing the infrastructure for the Internet; however much of it was there to begin with after the dot-com boom and subsequent burst. Many of the smaller ISPs in the UK only rent the broadband equipment and lines from BT (British Telecom, former state-owned telecommunication company before privatization). The Internet backbone itself is owned by the largest companies and also in part by governments across the world. To be net neutral, the ISPs must allow a paying end-user to access any part of the Internet. They merely provide the access to whatever else is connected to the network.
The problem is they are starting to see content providers as end-users as well. The very essence of the problem is that the network providers don't want anyone to use their part of the network without paying for it. While it may seem like the market could allow competitiveness, this isn't what it's offering.
What happens when small start-ups can't get to anyone without paying fees? These are on top of their content production costs, the cost of hosting said content, and the cost of paying one of the ISPs once already for a connection and bandwidth. It's not like the content providers are not already paying for their access. However what is being proposed is that they should pay all of the ISPs, not just the one providing them with a local connection, but every single one that owns the backbone cabling.
But what happens when there is no "new MySpace" to attract people? What happens when all people are offered is one company for searches and so forth through their ISP? What happens when they can't watch videos, listen to Internet radio, see wild pictures and read random babble about someone else's life?
If the ISPs only thought about why we all go onto the Internet, and understood that we are all more than just a set of numbers that seem to endlessly want to pay them money for offering this connection, then they'd think twice about neutering it. They fail to see that we aren't really paying to have a cable. We are paying to get to what's on the other end of the cable, and just put up with the ISPs to get it.
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