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The Sustainable Network by Sarah Sorensen

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Chapter 22. Net Neutrality

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It’s difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.

Yogi Berra

One wildcard in the network’s sustainability revolves around net neutrality. The net neutrality debate has been raging for some time now. On the surface, it is about ensuring that everyone has access to the public Internet. It is the founding principle that all individuals should be able to use the network and be free to access the information and resources they want, without discrimination. There should be no preferential treatment in the handling of the traffic by the network of any person or type of service. So, your access is treated the same as your next-door neighbor’s access to Internet services.

Sounds good, sounds right—after all, the network is the great equalizer. It’s one of the reasons it is so well suited for sustainable change. However, when you dig deeper, net neutrality is actually about the economics of the network. In simpler terms, the debate revolves around the distribution of revenues generated via online activities. On one side of the debate are those who are paying to build out the network, and on the other side are those who are creating the services and applications that run on that network.

As we have discussed, broadband access is critical to the ongoing adoption of the network. It’s required to deliver the high-performance connection that results in a ...

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