Comedian Baratunde Thurston, the creator of the political blog Jack And Jill Politics, provided an overview of net neutrality to students at Bucknell University last month.
Thurston explained that telecommunication companies such as Verizon or AT&T did not want to just act as a “highway” for data. The companies also wanted to provide services, and were tempted to provide those services with preferential treatment.
So far, the Internet has been based on the idea that all data is treated equally.
“Send your packets out there, they will reassembly magically on the other end, and there is not a lot of heavy manipulation in between to prioritize one packet over another packet,” Baratunde said. “When you introduce a business conflict that says, OK, the person who operates the network is also selling stuff on the network that competes with people who are just selling stuff on the network, these network people have an incentive to prioritize their goodies over this other person.”
Providing a hypothetical example, Baratunde said Verizon could slow down access to YouTube while providing faster access to their own video services. He noted businesses would naturally want to promote their own products while demoting their competitors.
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