Network Neutrality – The Key to the Future
Net neutrality refers to the concept of keeping the Internet open to all lawful content, information, applications, and equipment. In the past several months, cable and telephone companies have publicly stated their intent to fundamentally change the architecture of the Internet in order to create tiered networks for premium delivery of their own proprietary services. In doing so, this plan would essentially break the Internet model and allow network operators to discriminate against certain Internet users or applications in order to give an advantage to these services. In essence, the network operators are attempting to diminish the Internet’s capabilities and squander its potential by forcing it to become just another television delivery platform.
The Internet2 community is today living in the future of the Internet, routinely using and developing applications that go far beyond simple video streaming or TV over the net. Many students, faculty, and researchers already are able to use technologies facilitated by Internet2, such as DVD-quality videoconferencing to create global classrooms, and are hard at work creating more advanced, potentially life-changing technologies in areas such as telemedicine and distance-learning. These technologies promise to save taxpayers billions of dollars in healthcare and education expenses, while unleashing unparalleled economic opportunity if—and only if—all Americans are given unfettered access to high-speed broadband connections and content.
Internet2 in coordination with EDUCAUSE and many other like-minded organizations are working diligently with lawmakers to preserve the principle of Network Neutrality. Not only is it important to advance the research and education community’s missions, but it is indeed critical to the future viability of our nation’s economy. We believe that any new telecom legislation should include strong provisions that protects network neutrality enabling entrepreneurs, students, consumers, and small businesses to use the Internet as they choose - opening the door to a vast future of innovations that we have not even yet imagined.