The recent changes made by AT&T over their data plans has brought the debate over net neutrality back into the forefront of the main stream media. AT&T announced they would discontinue their $30/month plan for unlimited data use for their smart phones and iPad. In its place will be a $15/month plan for users of under 200 megabytes and $25/month for users of up to 2 gigabytes. There will still be the standard overage fees for users. For more on the AT&T announcement visit 37prime.
Net neutrality is very much a contentious topic. Originally coined in the early 2000’s, the principle is proposed for user access networks participating in the internet. It is basically an ethical standard for companies that provide internet services. The principle states that providers and governments should impose restrictions on content, sites, platforms, or equipment used to access the internet. The thought is that two customers that pay for the same level of service, regardless of price, shall have the same level of access. Net neutrality seems innocent and simple enough to garner wide spread support. However, detractors cite the need for government intervention would be an unsavory solution for the implementation of net neutrality. Proponents point to the need for some regulation of service providers to ensure that consumers are treated fairly. Andy Kessler of the Wall Street Journal points out the different perspectives of the service providers(AT&T) and the FCC:
The FCC (plus Google and friends) wants all users to have free reign to do what they want on the Internet and smart phones. AT&T just wants users to pay for excess bandwidth. Both are fine and not incompatible goals, except that competition, rather than rules, will best set the right price and make it happen. But without more broadband capacity and much higher speeds, the productivity applications needed to drive the next wave of growth in the economy will be stillborn. (Wall Street Journal/Andy Kessler)
Kessler argues that the battle over net neutrality has become a chess game between the FCC and service providers. The FCC has set its sights on bringing quality broadband service to all Americans. The plan would require cooperation and competition between service providers. Exactly how this would be helped or hindered by government regulations can be debated. However, the true implementation of net neutrality will never come to fruition unless something is done. While the recent moves by AT&T have only stoked the flames of the net neutrality debate, it is clear that the subject requires more discussion among the general public, service providers, and the government.
Desperate America Report will continue with its look into Net Neutrality next week. Also be on the lookout for coverage of the United States Men’s National Team on their World Cup journey. Check the site for previews and post-game analysis on all US matches. If you are unable to watch the games, follow us on Twitter for live updates during the matches.
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