June 18, 2010
FCC takes next step in Internet regulation - MarketWatch
Net neutrality will be the big fight of the next decade. The federal government will argue that all traffic regardless of priority, deleterious effects on the internet backbone or critical facilities should be transported with equal priority across all networks. This has a comforting populist appeal to it and many interests, including Google and Microsoft will back it.
Network managers charged with insuring that internet systems capacity is always adequate everywhere may find that costs will increase because additional investment in capacity may be forced on them arbitrarily to meet some FCC defined traffic standard. Meanwhile the massive users of these networks such as Google, Microsoft and other companies stimulating heavy traffic will support any rules that increase capacity because they don't have to foot the bill for it beyond their access.
Consumers will generally care less about this becuse it's nearly impossible for average users to know if their traffic is properly managed or network-neutral. They are interested in 'fast' if they are paying for broadband and expect to get what they pay for. The fly in this ointment is typically the 'last mile' connection to the internet. Last-mile access can vary in quality and capacity depending on a host of physical, technical and geographical factors.