Last year's telecom reform bill covering everything from GI phone calls to video franchising went down in flames over one item: network neutrality. There was no compromise between opposing forces.
Phone and cable companies lined up against network neutrality because it would prohibit them from imposing tiered pricing on bandwidth use for say, a YouTube versus a mysticpoetry.com. The Googles and Amazons of the world, along with several public interest groups, said that without network neutrality, cable and phone giants would wrest control of all Internet traffic.
The noise level surrounding network neutrality abated somewhat after the issue stalled on Capitol Hill, but it's getting a second wind in the form of an FCC Notice of Inquiry. (Nearly 27,000 comments and replies have been filed on the notice in three months time.)
However, the deciding factor of network neutrality may ultimately have nothing to do with politics, but physics.
- Wes Simpson of TV Technology examines the capacity of the Internet and the exploding use of bandwidth here.