[NetBehaviour] What is Net Neutrality?

marc garrett marc.garrett at furtherfield.org
Wed Feb 17 11:21:41 CET 2010

What is Net Neutrality?

At its core, the Net Neutrality movement in the US refers to efforts to 
keep the Internet open, accessible and "neutral" to all users, 
application providers and network carriers. In theory, this means, for 
example, that one carrier would not be allowed to discriminate against 
an application written by a third party (such as Google Voice) by 
requiring its users to rely on the carrier's own proprietary voice 
applications. A carrier's walled-garden browser, which allows access to 
only certain websites, is also not seen as neutral by many neutrality 

The term Net neutrality is clearly politically laden. It isn't used that 
much by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in its 
deliberations on the matter. (The FCC is weighing a national broadband 
policy it hopes to present to Congress next month.) Traditional carriers 
don't use the term that much either, since they often argue there is 
nothing wrong with the openness of the Internet, something Google and a 
variety of public interest groups dispute.


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