Steve Hull on Friday 06 August 2010 Tweet this!
Google and Verizon, the largest telecoms operator in the US, are reportedly close to reaching an agreement which would give Google preferential treatment on the Internet.
Since the earliest days of ARPAnet back in the 1960s, the only factors determining how information was carried over the net were those concerned with such things as the most efficient path to take and the correction of errors. Aside from these concerns, any and all traffic on what has now become the Internet has always been treated equally. This is the concept which has become known as 'net neutrality.'
There is currently great concern, therefore, that this situation may be about to change. An article in today's Independent describes a situation where Google may be able to utilise more of the Internet's bandwidth per unit of data than others. The result would be to speed up the transmission of Google's data and slow down everyone else's. The fear is that this is the first step towards an Internet where individual users and smaller organisations no longer have the same opportunity to communicate that larger, richer groups do.
Ths Internet is the only medium of communication I can think of (aside from Speakers' Corner) where wealth and power have not had privileged access. Long may it remain so.