Net neutrality? More like neutered neutrality.

Summary:Aren't politicians frickin' wonderful?

Here's where we stand. The FCC has approved a form of net neutrality after years of debate and tail chasing.

See also: FCC approves net neutrality framework; Now the politics begin

So, what's it all mean? Does this finally mean we'll all get fair and affordable Internet, forever and ever?

More importantly, as ABC affiliate KTRS' host John Brown asked me on the air yesterday, "Will you still be able to get to your Facebook profile?"

The answers are no. And yes.

No, the Internet will not be fair and affordable forever. Not even close. And yes, you'll be able to get to your Facebook.

Here's the thing. The FCC's variation of net neutrality isn't neutral. In fact, it's the opposite. The rules the FCC approved today treat wired Internet and wireless completely differently.

The wired Internet will gain some level of net neutrality. But the wireless Internet (which, coincidentally, is pretty much where we're all moving to) will allow vendors to sculpt traffic to their hearts' content -- creating all sorts of special cases and special treatment.

Wired Internet will be somewhat open. Wireless Internet will be controlled and manipulated by large corporate interests and you and your Web site will most likely be treated like second class citizens.

Oh, and none of this is locked in stone. The FCC has made this ruling, but they had to bend a bunch of rules to get this far. We've got a vengeful Republican congress coming into office in a few weeks. So it's anyone's guess what will stick and what won't.

My take: like the health care bill, this is an area that desperately needed quality government attention. Instead, it got politicized, neutered, and gutted to the point where we might have actually been better off if they left the darned thing alone.

Aren't politicians frickin' wonderful?

Topics: Enterprise Software, Government, Government : US


In addition to hosting the ZDNet Government and ZDNet DIY-IT blogs, CBS Interactive's Distinguished Lecturer David Gewirtz is an author, U.S. policy advisor and computer scientist. He is featured in The History Channel special The President's Book of Secrets, is one of America's foremost cyber-security experts, and is a top expert on savi... Full Bio

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