Google’s About Face and Bloggers’ Stake in Net Neutrality

“Net neutrality” means that internet traffic is all treated equally. On a non-neutral internet, some webpages will download faster if the host of those pages has paid a special fee to your internet service provider.

If you are a blogger, should you care about net neutrality? Yes, you should care about it dearly. It’s a complicated issue, involving complicated technology, complicated economics, and complicated industrial models. That’s all true. But it comes down to something quite simple. Right now, a lone blogger is on an equal footing with the New York Times in terms of the being able to deliver content to end-users across the internet. Without net neutrality, that could change.

What will happen to blog readership in a non-neutral world? Imagine you have a choice between reading a blog or reading news from a big media company. The blog downloads at a glacial pace. You’re waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Meanwhile, the big media company’s content goes ZIP! and it’s all there. Readership of traditional blogs will plummet.

The political picture on a postage stamp is this: Big telecom companies generally don’t like net neutrality, because they would like to charge for non-neutral carriage of data. Little guys without a lot of political clout like net neutrality. The one mega-sized corporate friend that net-neutrality supporters had was Google. That’s why Google made such big news when it announced recently that it had struck a deal with Verizon to support non-neutral carriage for wireless services and other tweaks on net-neutrality.

Learn about it:

In favor of net neutrality, read this very well-done post by Jeff Sayer: How the Death of Net Neutrality Effects You. Also good is this post on Gizmodo: Google Just Killed Net Neutrality

For the other side of the argument, there’s no better source than Google itself. Read Google’s announcement, Google’s explanation for why it is not a sell-out.

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