Back in the early days, the gray neutrality of the Internet was absolutely crucial to its evolution. The universal amorphous state of the Internet permits packets to be passed indiscriminately between computers, transcending the limits of platforms, hardware and software, data types and even language, and it's this boundless freedom that has catapulted technology exponentially over the last two decades.
According to some groups, it's these same applications -- particularly voice and video apps, which evolved from the technological hopscotch of the .com era -- that are now threatening the very thing that bred them: net neutrality.
Prioritization, or "traffic shaping" as it's sometimes called, could give telcos a significant competitive edge. It would be difficult for a Web-based service like Vonage, for example, to compete with a telephone company that has the ability to prioritize the customer data that travels over its lines above those of a competitor -- the telco's traffic speeds up, Vonage's stays the same.
How does this issue affect you and your organization? On the smaller scale, you could end up paying more for prioritized services. On the larger scale, it may hinder the creative ingenuity that helps us all work and live more efficiently and comfortably. How do we balance the unrestrained ecosystem of the Net that's brought about so much innovation while keeping checks in place to ensure QoS for all? Congress and the telecommunications industry have their positions -- what's yours? Let us know your thoughts on the best approach to the Net neutrality issue.
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