October 30, 2009 (CAP Newswire) – Very few people want to see regulations imposed on Internet traffic. After all, if it isn't broke, why fix it? But, as most observers know, there might be some big changes coming in the way people are allowed to access the Internet, and needless to say, that could have some pretty big effects on online marketers used to a completely even playing field. 

The Internet is perhaps the most democratic of all media ever, because everything’s basically on equal ground. Yet, because some Internet service providers (ISPs) have publicized plans (or wishes) to give preferential treatments to certain sites they partner with, say, having Yahoo load faster than Goby because of a special partnership, the government has felt it necessary to step in and figure out if this should be allowed, or if laws should be made to preserve the Internet’s equal ground.

So, the term “net neutrality” refers to an Internet in which ISPs aren’t allowed to give preferential treatment; and, after years of debate, the FCC (the Federal Communications Commission, the United States agency charged with overseeing the Internet, along with other media) has finally come out in favor of net neutrality.

Pro-business politicians are crying foul, stating that businesses have the right to dictate how they provide their service. But since citizens in many U.S. cities don’t have the option of choosing their provider, the government is saying this is unfair.   

Basically, the consensus is that net neutrality is good for online business, including online gaming and affiliate marketing. After all, you wouldn’t want the brand you’re promoting to suddenly be cut off from the visitors you’re sending its way.

Currently, consumers in countries like Australia and New Zealand pay for Internet access by bytes used as well as time period; U.S. customers haven’t been subjected to that restriction. But that could all change if net neutrality is enacted, say critics.

“The loudest opposition comes from AT&T, Verizon and other Internet providers,” repots NetworkWorld.com. "They say the rules would block charging extra for premium services, the financial incentive they need to invest in network upgrades that keep traffic running smoothly. … They say the consequences of net-neutrality rules would be one of two things: higher flat rates for services or paying by the byte for Internet traffic.”

For the record, Senator John McCain is among those opposing net neutrality. For more info from NetworkWorld, click here.


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