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The Battle over Network Neutrality May Finally Be Hitting Your Monthly Bill as Comcast and Netflix Provider Spar

December 2, 2010 by · Comments Off
Filed under: Uncategorized 

While many Internet denizens have been avidly following the ongoing controversy, the majority of Internet users don’t know about it, and frankly, don’t care.  It’s hard to get people riled up over an issue that may, someday, be a problem.  The only real sufferers of a disregard for Net Neutrality have been peer-2-peer file sharers in 2007, when Comcast began deliberately lowering their internet speeds.  Finally, however, the debate may have entered an arena that hits close to home.

Netflix traffic currently takes up around 20% of all internet traffic, making it a giant in the field and a service near and dear to many internet users’ hearts.  Comcast has recently forced Level 3 Communication, the major traffic supporter for Netflix, to pay an additional fee to the Internet Service Provider.  Comcast claims that this fee is not a violation of Net Neutrality, but rather is being charged as a result of increases in Internet traffic.  Level 3 Communications claims this type of fee is in violation of the Network Neutrality rules proposed by the FCC that are to be voted on later this December.

The central idea behind Network Neutrality is that ISPs may not restrict access to specific services, whether by slowing speeds or charging fees for access to specific sites.  There is a growing concern that ISPs will team up with large entertainment companies and restrict their customers’ access to only their business partners websites and internet services.  The proposed merger of Comcast and NBC that appears to be finalized soon is weighing heavy on the proponents of Net Neutrality.