Net neutrality creating the latest digital divide

Even as the federal government tries to determine how much broadband the public wants--and how much it should dole out to provide it--the FCC plows ahead with plans to regulate access to those pipes and private companies line up either in opposition or with their own suggestions. For the notoriously hot, humid and lazy days of August, things are really hopping in D.C.

This week's big news, that Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) have actually teamed up on their own plan of how best to handle Internet traffic, has sparked a maelstrom of controversy, starting with a rebuke from FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and proceeding to angry responses from public interest groups such as the Open Internet Coalition which feel betrayed by Google's alliance with the "enemy."

One OIC member, Facebook, formerly tight with Google, took issue with the deal with a statement that reiterated its support of net neutrality and emphasized that "preserving an open Internet that is accessible to innovators--regardless of their size or wealth--will promote a vibrant and competitive marketplace."

While that controversy swirled, another voice was added to the mix when the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) came out against any broadband regulations "at present time" by arguing in comments filed before the FCC that "the Internet's history suggests that self-governance is the most effective mechanism for ensuring both progress and openness. A truly open Internet--one in which applications run successfully side-by-side with traditional ones, is not neutral, it's fair and active."

For more:
- NY Times has this story
- and this blog post
- TechDailyDose has this story
- and this Broadcasting & Cable story

Related articles:
FCC's net neutrality compromise meetings grind on
Net neutrality: Feds try to close barn door after the horse skedaddles