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Net Neutrality

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As you all may know, there's a big issue going on right now about to what degree Internet providers and phone companies (and perhaps others) might start charging individual Web sites a fee based on how much traffic they get.

I'll probably botch the explanation, because it's a bit confusing, but here goess...

Currently, when you have a Web site, like AMERICAblog, your Web host charges you a monthly fee based on how much traffic you get. (And it's not cheap, unless you use Blogger, then it's free, but cranky. But when we move to a private Web host, which we will soon, our monthly costs will probably be in the range of $1500 a month or more.) But you/I don't have to pay any of the Internet providers themselves - meaning, we pay to host the site somewhere but we don't pay for you to actually download it via your Internet provider (AOL, Comcast, whatever).

Of late, there's been growing concern in the blogosphere, and elsewhere, that such a fee structure is coming. Basically, AOL could tell me: "Aravosis, your blog gets 100,000 visitors a day. If you want AOL to deliver your blog page in a timely fashion to AOL subscribers you need to pay us $X a month."

There's a big debate going on over this. Some folks, like a lot of the blogosphere, are very worried that the Internet providers are going to start charging folks like us, and they might. Other folks, like the Internet providers and the phone companies, say that they're only interested in making big guys like Google and Yahoo and Microsoft pay extra since they're hogging so much of the Net traffic.

There's currently legislation before Congress called Net Neutrality. It would help ensure that the Internet providers don't charge people like us for using the Web. But some folks are concerned that if the legislation is passed it will actually be a a bad thing because it will be a first scary step towards government regulation of the Internet, even though in this case the regulation might be for a good cause.

Anyway, I'm still trying to figure it all out, but as the anti-Net Neutrality folks just launched a site (and bought an ad on this blog touting the site), I'd figured I'd link to both the pro and the anti guys and let you folks start thinking about the issue.

- Pro Net Neutrality: (there's a short video explanation of the issue here)

- Anti Net Neutrality (or, as they say, anti government regulation of the Net):

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