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What We Mean When We Talk About Net Neutrality – NOVA Next | PBS

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The fear is that without explicit rules preventing them, big internet service providers like Comcast might sell companies like Google and Facebook spots in “Internet fast lanes,” giving their data an edge over smaller startups that can’t pony up.

Public discussion of net neutrality has focused on internet “Fast lanes,” but that idea is based on an old model of the internet. This original concept of net neutrality was thought up back in the days when data from content providers went straight into a giant “Internet backbone” of data centers.

“Fast lane is how the internet is built today,” says Craig Labovitz, who, as the CEO of DeepField Networks, an outfit whose sole mission is to track how companies build internet infrastructure, probably knows more about the design of the modern internet than anyone else.

“The net neutrality debate has got many facets to it, and most of the points of the debate are artificial, distracting, and based on an incorrect mental model on how the internet works,” says Dave Taht, a developer of open-source networking software.

If you’re like 96% of Americans, you have access to only one or two internet service providers.

The takeaway, McMillan writes, is that we need to shift our attention from over-simplified and outdated models of the internet and focus on promoting healthy competition among internet service providers, helping to preserve the spirit of net neutrality.

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Article originally posted at www.pbs.org

Post Author: Meghan Rosen

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